University of Iowa researchers discovered two new species of huge crocodiles that lived in East Africa over 15 million years ago while being on the hunt for human ancestors. The predators were also giant dwarf crocodiles, they are called Kinyang mabokoensis and Kinyang tchernovi, and they measured even 12 feet in length. Phys.org brings the news about their discovery.
Scientists would sure like to know more about how the crocodiles disappeared. However, climate change could be an explanation. It’s also worth knowing that the ancient beasts’ appetite for human ancestors is not the only remarkable thing about them. The giant dwarf crocodiles spent most of their time out of the water, waiting to catch their prey.
The giant dwarf crocodiles have some relatives existing nowadays
Dwarf crocodiles that exist nowadays in central and west Africa are related to the newfound species. By comparison, the crocodile relatives from current Africa are significantly smaller than their ancestors.
For our human ancestors, the giant dwarf crocodiles were indeed a huge threat. The animals were also eager to exploit any chance they got to chow down on their prey. That’s something that Christopher Brochu, corresponding author of the study and professor at Iowa in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, confirms by stating:
These were the biggest predators our ancestors faced,
They were opportunistic predators, just as crocodiles are today. It would have been downright perilous for ancient humans to head down to the river for a drink.
There are currently 24 recognized species of crocodilians that exist nowadays. They’re divided into three Families: Alligatoridae, which has 8 species, Crocodylidae, which have 14 species, and Gavialidae, which has 2 species.
You can see the new study here.