Remains of giant phytosaur unearthed in India

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(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists at the Indian Institute of Technology have discovered a previously unknown species of ancient crocodile-like reptile. The age of the fossilized remains of a giant creature exceeds 200 million years.

The fossils were discovered by paleontologists in the Tiki Formation, located in the Rewa-Gondwana River Basin in India.

In total, the researchers recovered 27 samples of the skull and jaws, as well as about 340 small bone remains from the earth.

The analysis showed that not all of them belonged to the same creature. The bones belonged to at least 21 different animals, both very young individuals and “adolescents”.

The collected collection, however, was enough to identify and describe a new genus and species of ancient crocodile-like reptiles. A related creature was named Colossosuchus techniensis.

It roamed our planet during the Upper Triassic, between 235 and 208 million years ago. Scientists have determined that this ancient creature was a species of phytosaurs (family Phytosauridae).

It was an extinct group of large reptiles that are considered semi-aquatic, like modern crocodiles. That is, they were able to live and eat both in water and on land.

“Phylogenetic analysis places Colossosuchus techniensis and other undescribed specimens from India in the Mystriosuchinae family,” Indian paleontologists Debajit Datta and Sanghamitra Ray write in their paper.

“They form a separate clade and represent the earliest examples of endemism among Gondwanan phytosaurs.”

The calculations made showed that the length of the detected creature exceeded eight meters. This suggests that Colossosuchus techniensis was one of the largest phytosaurs known to science.

Previously, fossilized remains of two more species of phytosaurs were found in India, and they lived in the same era.


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