In a recent study, researchers discovered one of the oldest crocodile fossils, a thalattosuchian, an ancient cousin of the crocodile family
A group of paleontologists discovered the “marine crocodile,” one of the oldest ancient crocodile fossils.
Taylor and Francis published the research.
Pathologists in the United Kingdom discovered the Turnersuchus hingleyae fossils, which included the backbone, head, and limbs.
Thus, the recently found fossils of Turnersuchus hingleyae are the only complete Thalattosuchian of this age. Dated back to the early Jurassic, Pliensbachian era, which was around 185 million years ago, and is the only complete Thalattosuchian of this age. According to research published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, a new fossil was found. Therefore, it fills a gap in the fossil record and shows that Turnersuchus, Thalattosuchians, and other crocodile-like species may have devolved around 15 million years earlier than previously thought.
It is conceivable that the discovered fossils bear a resemblance to the current gharial crocodiles because of their comparatively long, narrow snouts. However, the researchers have claimed that thalattosuchians may have a similar skull base as the Gharials, but both of them are structured differently.
Thus, the area of the skull where the jaw muscles are located was especially huge in the species, indicating that they possessed expanded jaw muscles that allowed for quick and large bites. Given that most of their food was likely fast-moving fish and cephalopods like squids and octopuses, this would have been helpful for their health.