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Ancient Croc Found In Colombian Coal Mine

September 16, 2011 by  

BOGOTA, Sept. 15 (UPI) — Paleontologists say they’ve discovered the fossil of a 20-foot extinct crocodile relative in a coal mine in Colombia.

The massive freshwater crocodile, dubbed Acherontisuchus guajiraensis, would have lived at the same time and possibly in the same rainforest environment as the world’s longest snake, known as Titanoboa and thought to have grown to about 42 feet, the BBC reported Thursday.

The ancient rainforest ecosystem was dominated by reptiles, including giant snakes, turtles and crocodiles, researchers said, and A. guajiraensis is the second fossil crocodile relative found in the Correjon mine in northern Colombia.

A. guajiraensis was specialized for eating fish, which means it probably would have competed for food with Titanoboa, they said.

The new species belongs to a group of crocodiles known as dyrosaurids, long thought to be mainly ocean-dwelling, coastal reptiles, but the new adult specimen contradicts earlier theories that A. guajiraensis would only have lived in freshwater as babies before returning to the sea, scientists said.

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