New Species of Carnivorous Reptile discovered in Southwestern Tanzania

New Species of Carnivorous Reptile discovered in Southwestern Tanzania

According to researchers, they have discovered a new species of carnivorous reptile that used to live on the planet long before the dinosaurs. The researchers have named the species 'Nundasuchus', which means predator crocodile.

As per the researchers from Virginia Tech, Nundasuchus was a 9-foot-long creature and had teeth like steak knives and legs that lay under its body. Sterling Nesbitt, an assistant professor of geological sciences, said the predator crocodile was a member of larger crocodiles that lived on earth before the arrival of dinosaurs. According to him, the creature had limbs under its body like a dinosaur, but bony plates on its back were similar to a crocodilian.

The researchers discovered the fossil remains in southwestern Tanzania. They had found the fossil when they were looking for prehistoric ancestors of modern-day crocodiles and birds. Nesbitt said, "There's such a huge gap in our understanding around the time when the common ancestor of birds and crocodilians was alive -- there isn't a lot out there in the fossil record from that part of the reptile family tree".

According to him, the discovery could be helpful in filling the gap in family tree of reptiles. The researchers are currently studying the fossil to know more about the creature. The discovery has been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. As per reports, the fossil specimen is incomplete in terms of the skull.

Nesbitt said that sometimes it just takes a few seconds to know that if the remains belong to a new species. While conducting the research, he found a leg bone which made it clear that the researchers have been searching at the right place, Nesbitt added.

Nesbitt has been involved in the naming of more than a dozen different species of dinosaurs and reptiles.