In “’Shieldcroc’ may be father of all crocs” (ABC News, November 9 2011), Jennifer Viegas reports,
An enormous prehistoric crocodile-like creature with a shield-like bony plate on its head, could be the last common ancestor of animals related to crocodiles and alligators, say researchers.
Shieldcroc is said to have lived 93 to 99 million years ago.
But Shieldcroc then and now is capturing greater interest due to its hard-to-miss “shield,” a raised mound of tissue packed with blood vessels and likely covered by a thick sheath, similar to what is seen in the frill of horned dinosaurs. It might have helped to regulate body temperature, but probably served a flashier purpose.
= To show off.
We are told that Shieldcroc measured over 10 metres long and – apart from its narrow jaw, it could eat whatever it could manage.
Some have argued for renaming the Cretaceous to be the Age of Crocs, as opposed to the Age of Dinosaurs:
The Cretaceous is full of giant crocs including Sarcosuchus, Dyrosaurus, Deinosuchus, Shieldcroc and others,” says Holliday. “There was likely ample food and a warm climate facilitating their ability to reach large sizes. There are fossils of very large fish from the region, so there were certainly large prey to catch as well.
The whole thing is disputedm apart from the fossils, but worth noting anyway.