July 22, 2009
A few months ago I wrote about the rush to study and excavate a Cretaceous fossil site in North Arlington, Texas before developers start construction on the land. University of Texas at Arlington paleontologists and students have been scouring the site to learn what they can, and this week they announced the discovery of a 100-million-year-old crocodylian from the site.
During the time this crocodylian lived, Texas was part of a river ecosystem that eventually spilled out into a seaway that ran through the middle of North America. Turtles, sharks and lungfish swam in the water and the dinosaur Protohadros browsed on vegetation along the shoreline. No doubt this new crocodylian preyed upon some of those fish. But it has yet to be announced just what species this new fossil discovery belongs to.
There was at least one kind of crocodylian present at the North Arlington site, Woodbinesuchus, but might this new fossil represent something new? The researchers studying the site have stated that some of the crocodylian fossils they have found do not match Woodbinesuchus, so perhaps this more recent discovery is something new. I can’t wait to find out what it is.
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