Science

Fossils: Terrifying 14ft-long ‘uncle’ of modern crocodiles roamed Wyoming 155 million years ago

Meet the talking crocodile “UNCLE”! Fossil analysis reveals that this terrifying 14-foot-long, half-ton reptile Gap Wyoming 155 million years ago

  • The fossil is a new member of the so-called goniopgolidid crocodile family
  • Named “Amphicotyleus Mili” by a team led by Hokkaido University
  • The fearsome beast had a 17-inch skull filled with 30 sharp 2-inch teeth
  • The team said it was opportunistic — feeding on fish, turtles, and even dinosaurs
  • It revealed how crocodiles developed their unique breathing system for diving


The terrifying 14-foot-long reptile that roamed the Serengeti-like landscape of Wyoming 155 million years ago was the “uncle” of all modern crocodiles.

This is the conclusion of a team of researchers led by Hokkaido University, who have identified a new species belonging to the “goniopholidid” crocodile family.

The fossil “Amphicotyleus milesi” was discovered in the East Camarasaurus Quarry – named after dinosaur finds from the site – in Albany County, Wyoming.

According to paleontologists, in life, A. milesi would have weighed nearly half a ton and had a mouth full of 30 sharp teeth two inches long.

The terrifying 14-foot-long reptile that roamed the Serengeti-like landscape of Wyoming 155 million years ago was the “uncle” of all modern crocodiles. Pictured: Artist’s impression of Amphicotyleus Mili threatening a larger Camarasaur in a watering hole

This is the conclusion reached by a team of researchers led by Hokkaido University, who identified a new species belonging to the crocodile family.

This is the conclusion of a team of researchers led by Hokkaido University, who have identified a new species belonging to the “goniopholidid” crocodile family. Pictured: Fossil

How are alligators and crocodiles different?

Snout: Alligators have a wider, U-shaped nose, while alligators are more pointed and V-shaped.

Smile: Crocodiles look like they flash a toothy smile when they close their nose.

Alligators’ teeth are hidden because their upper jaw is wider than the lower.

Home: Alligators live in saltwater habitats, while alligators roam freshwater swamps and lakes.

According to the paper’s author and paleontologist Junki Yoshida of Japan’s University of Hokkaido, A. milesi was not only the “uncle” of modern crocodiles—it also revealed the origin of the unique breathing system they use in diving.

“Amphicotylus mili has the posterior extension of the nasal canal and a short, curved tongue bone similar to modern crocodiles,” he explained.

This suggests that by keeping their outer nose above the water’s surface, crocodilians’ ancestors could raise the valve at the tongue.

They can breathe underwater while holding prey in the mouth, as modern crocodiles do today.

The expert concluded that “Amphicotylus provides new insight into the aquatic adaptation toward modern crocodilians.”

Modern crocodiles are able to hold their breath for up to an hour underwater.

Today only 25 species of crocodiles are still alive, but that number could have been in the hundreds during the time of the dinosaurs, with some reaching 30 feet long and weighing three tons — six times tons of miles. .

According to paleontologists, in life, A. milesi would have weighed nearly half a ton and had a mouth full of 30 sharp teeth two inches long.  Pictured: Photographic and pictorial representations of A Miley's skull from different angles

According to paleontologists, in life, A. milesi would have weighed nearly half a ton and had a mouth full of 30 sharp teeth two inches long. Pictured: Photographic and pictorial representations of A Miley’s skull from different angles

At the time A. milesi lived, during the late Jurassic period, the badlands of today’s Wyoming were more like the Serengeti Mountains in Africa.

The creatures living here had to adapt to long periods of severe drought – followed by months of monsoons that would have flooded local rivers.

Researchers believe that A. milesi could have been an opportunistic predator — eating everything from small fish frogs, lizards, and turtles, to possibly even herbivorous dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

The full results of the study were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

A timeline of crocodile evolution

250,000,000 BC – Xilousuchus

It is three feet long. 5-10 lbs. He lived in the swamps of East Asia. I ate small animals. A series of propeller-like “sails” on their backs. They split into prehistoric crocodiles and ancient dinosaurs.

228,000,000 BC – Phytosaur

surviving during the early Jurassic period. Most closely related to crocodilians. Herbivores. They were very similar to modern day crocodiles – except that their nostrils were located at the top of their head rather than the tops of their nose.

20,000,000 BC – Erpetosuchus

bipedal. Modern crocodiles are not similar in behavior or body shape except the shape of the head.

110,000,000 BC – Sarcosuchus

Middle Cretaceous period. 40 feet long. 10-15 tons. I ate dinosaurs and fish. He lived in the rivers of Africa. A strange bump on her snout. She looked and acted like her modern ancestors, but she was twice as tall and about 10 times as tall.

100,000 BC – Stomatosuchus

36 feet long. Ten tons. It ate plankton and krill with its high jaw resembling a swan.

80,000,000 BC – Pinosuchus

Greek word meaning terrible crocodile. He lived in the rivers of North America. It is about 33 feet long and 10 tons. They had 6 feet. long skull It feeds on fish, shellfish and land creatures. Evidence in fossils indicates that it attacked large North American dinosaurs.

70,000,000 BC – Champsosaurus

Five feet long, 25-50 pounds, they ate fish, and lived in the rivers of North America and Western Europe. A long, narrow profile and a snout studded with teeth. It survived the Cretaceous and Paleogene extinction event that killed three-quarters of Earth’s plant and animal species – including the dinosaurs.

65,000,000 BC – Cretaceous and Paleogene extinction event

Non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out and more than half of the world’s species were wiped out. This mass extinction paved the way for the emergence of mammals and the emergence of humans.

55,000,000 BC – Crocodylidae (modern-day crocodile)

Modern crocodiles—including saltwater, Nile, and American variants—have spread all over the world. Although it appears prehistoric, it is a highly evolved and complex organism and is a successful predator.

23000.00 BC – Cuencana

Nine feet long, 500 pounds. Red meat is consumed in the forests. Long, curved teeth and long legs, unlike the short legs of modern crocodiles. These crocodiles are constantly getting smaller due to environmental changes.

4,200,000 BC – Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni

This is very close to the modern day crocodile. A large skull and a small raised edge in front of the eyes. He probably prayed to the first humans. He lived in the Turkana Basin in Kenya. It could be the largest known real crocodile.

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