Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A prehistoric hominid meets a 16 foot long crocodile

I think crocodiles are fascinating and so had to stop and read more about a new species unearthed in skeleton form from Africa's Olduvai Gorge. It was found in an area that also contained fossil evidence of early hominids Homo habilis. Some of the bones found had bite marks which were determined to be consistent with a crocodile bite. Some poor hominid ancestor got to close to the waters edge where these creatures lay in waiting. According to the researchers the new croc is similar to the Nile crocodile although generally larger and with enough differing features to earn itself designation as a new species. According to the fossil evidence, the team predicted they could be up to 16 feet long. The best part of the article I found was the name they are giving the new crocodile. They are calling it Crocodylus anthropophagus. I was fortunate to take a year of ancient Greek in high school and can tell you anthropophagus means man eater. I love when comedy meets science. The orignal paper can be found here for anyone interested in more of the details of the find.

posted by Chris Bonci (1)

1 comment:

  1. I would really like to know more about this crocodile and picture what it would look like. It is always interesting when new species arrive and this one in particular sounds fascinating. It’s a shame that we only have some fossils of something that used to exist in our world, but it’s even better when we discover something new. I always wonder what types of creatures are out there that we do not know about or will never know about. 16 feet is enormous. I would not like to join him for a swim. I think it is also pretty cool that they gave him that name that translated into man eater.

    Posted by Amanda Makowski