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Life Sciences, Wiley-Blackwell

New Species of Jurassic Crocodile Discovered in Argentina

Paleontologists in Argentina have discovered a new species of cricosaurus which dates from the Tithonian era, the latest age of the Late Jurassic epoch. The fossil, described in Paleontology, was discovered in the limestone of the Neuqué basin in Northern Patagonia.

This new species, Cricosaurus lithographicus, is part of the metriorhynchid family of crocodiles, which evolved to be fully aquatic. They differed from their amphibious peers by gaining paddle-like forearms and shark-like tail fins, while losing their body armor to make them more efficient swimmers.

The new species represents the most complete postcranial remains of any metriorhynchid from South America and is the first metriorhynchid specimen to be found in lithographic limestone from Gondwana, the southern super continent which existed 180 million years ago.