A giant, 20-foot long crocodile from the Cretaceous Period has been discovered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.
Dubbed the Deltasuchus motherali, the ancient beast was discovered by a local teenager, Austin Motheral. Motheral worked with paleontoligists from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, who spent a decade excavating the bones.
The creature existed approximately 95 million years ago, at the same time as Tyrannosaurus Rex. During that era, modern-day Texas was largely covered by a shallow sea. In addition to T. rex, the area was home to other dinosaurs, turtles, crocodiles, mammals and fish.
UT paleontologist Stephanie Drumheller-Horton said, based off the fossils and bite marks, the animal ate whatever it wanted. However, there is much to be learned from this era.
“We simply don’t have that many North American fossils from the middle of the Cretaceous, the last period of the age of dinosaurs, and the eastern half of the continent is particularly poorly understood,” Drumheller-Horton said in a press release. “Fossils from the Arlington Archosaur Site are helping fill in this gap, and Deltasuchus is only the first of several new species to be reported from the locality.”
“Prior to this discovery, the only identified crocodyliforms from the Woodbine Formation had been the longirostrine taxa Terminonaris and Woodbinesuchus,” according to a research journal, detailing the findings.
The research has been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.