A giant 24 foot long crocodile that walked on its hind feet – has been revealed as a rival to the fearsome T-Rex dinosaur .
Complete with razor sharp teeth the enormous beast lived millions of years ago and is a distant cousin to the crocodile we know today.
Unlike modern crocs, their distant cousin walked on its hind feet as it scavenged on dinosaur sauropod carcasses or attacked other prey.
Until now little was known about the origin and early evolution of giant crocodile relative known as Notosuchia which lived in Jurassic Madagascar.
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Previously little was known about the early evolution of the crocodile relative known as Notosuchia
But fossilised remains reveal it had massive serrated teeth like a T-Rex
A new study of fossilised remains by Italian and French paleontologists has begun to fill the gap in a million-year-long ghost lineage.
The predator had deep and massive jaw bones armed with enormous serrated teeth similar in size and shape to those of a T-Rex.
The tip of a shed tooth showed a deeply worn surface caused by contact with hard food, such as bone and tendon indicating the animal was both predator and scavenger.
It is nicknamed ‘Razana’ but its full title is Razanandrongobe sakalavae, which means “giant lizard ancestor from Sakalava region”.
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Paleontologists Simone Maganuco and Cristiano Dal Sasso say its teeth show it was a predator that scavenged on dinosaur carcusses
The Razana was also very long, around 24ft in length
It is also the largest and oldest known ‘notosuchian,’ predating the other forms by 42 million years.
Cristiano Dal Sasso, of the Natural History Museum of Milan said: “Razanandrongobe sakalavae is the largest terrestrial carnivore from this Middle Jurassic terrestrial ecosystem and was perhaps one of the top predators in Madagascar at the time.
“Its jaws were extremely robust and high, but possibly short, and bore large teeth with serrated edges resembling those of theropod dinosaurs.
“It documents a dramatic, somewhat unexpected, size increase in the early history of the group.
The study was published in the journal PeerJ.