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morfrain_encilgar
Monday, June 13th, 2005, 12:52 PM
Prehistoric croc fossils found in Brazil

(Michael Astor)

Scientists on Wednesday unveiled 11 skeletons of prehistoric crocodiles and said their discovery suggests that an ancient land bridge once linked South America to Indo-Pakistan.

The fossilized skeletons of the Baurusuchus salgadoensis appear to be closely related to another ancient crocodile species, the Pabwehshi pakistanesis discovered in Pakistan, scientists from Rio de Janeiro's Federal University said.

"This discovery really proves that South America was at one time linked to the India-Pakistan bloc and this link could have only been through Antarctica or Australia," said Rudolph Trouw, regional editor of the scientific magazine Gondwana Research.

The Baurusuchus salgadoensis lived some 90 million years ago in an area of southeastern Brazil known as the Bauru Basin, some 700 kilometers (450 miles) west of modern-day Rio de Janeiro, said Pedro Henrique Nobre, one of the authors of the crocodiles' scientific description.

An adult measured about 3 meters (10 feet) from head to tail and weighed around 400 kilograms (900 pounds), making it the largest crocodile species ever discovered in South America, Nobre said.

Unlike modern crocodiles, the Baurusuchus had long legs and spent much of its time walking. It also could live in arid areas where water was scarce like other carnivorous dinosaurs of the epoch, Nobre said.

Nobre said the skeleton was exceptionally well preserved.

Scientists were able to separate the fossil's jaws and see how the Baurusuchus used its big teeth to chew its prey, he said.

"It's the best preserved fossil in this family. The ribs are intact and practically all the bones are preserved. To find a fossil this well preserved is rare," Nobre said.

Scientists were led to the fossils by elementary school teacher Joao Tadeu Arruda, who dug them up himself after one of his students showed him a fossilized tooth near the southwestern city of General Salgado.

Brazil has drawn international attention for its recent discoveries of prehistoric creatures.

In January, the same team of scientists unveiled a replica of another prehistoric crocodile species, Uberabasuchus Terrificus, which lived along the Sao Paulo coast around 70 million years ago.

In December, scientists unveiled a replica of Unaysaurus tolentinoi, an ancestor of the huge Brontosaurus that lived 230 million years ago in what is now southern Brazil. Experts said it was more closely related to fossils found in Germany than to dinosaurs from neighboring Argentina.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Tuesday, June 14th, 2005, 07:35 AM
This is interesting and the hypothesis that Pakistan was connected to South America through Antartica or Australia raises some interesting questions. For instance, how can the theory of continental drift account for this? At first, it seems simple and direct, continents slowly migrated a few centimeters per year but this creates a problem going backward. If we go backward far enough and all the continents are joined, all the landmass is concentrated, uplifted, on only one side of the earth. With rotation, precession, irregular earth orbit, this imbalance would cause more than just a little wobble.

On the otherhand, there is a branch of physics which says that continental drift is caused, not by subduction of existing continents, but by an ever expanding earth. This would account for continental migration and continuing migration as evidenced in rift zones without any other pre-conditions or processes unknown and undocumented such as expansion by subduction. Just something to think about.

PsycholgclMishap
Tuesday, June 14th, 2005, 03:13 PM
Very interesting article! Thanks for posting.

Interesting point you bring up, Dr. Solar Wolff. This theory is definitely possible with regard to your statements. I heard about an archeological dig somewhere along the coast of Africa where researchers found approximately 50% of the skeletal remains of a prehistoric mammal and it just so happened there was another archeological dig somewhere in the Americas where the other half of those skeletal remains were recovered.

morfrain_encilgar
Tuesday, June 14th, 2005, 03:50 PM
I heard about an archeological dig somewhere along the coast of Africa where researchers found approximately 50% of the skeletal remains of a prehistoric mammal and it just so happened there was another archeological dig somewhere in the Americas where the other half of those skeletal remains were recovered.

I feel this is unlikely, though monkeys and rodents and the elephant group of mammals all entered the Americas over the Atlantic from Africa. I think youre referring to Gondwana dinosaurs, not mammals.

PsycholgclMishap
Tuesday, June 14th, 2005, 04:00 PM
I think youre referring to Gondwana dinosaurs, not mammals.

That may be so. It's definitely possible though.