Science

Scientists stunned as 180 million years old crocodiles had dolphins like features

In a new find, researchers have revealed that they have found a missing link between crocodiles and dolphins. As per the scientists, some of the crocodile species that lived during the dinosaur era evolved into dolphins.

For the study, researchers examined a 180 million-year-old fossil named Magyarosuchus fitosi in honour of the amateur collector who discovered it, Attila Fitos. The specimen was unearthed back in 1996 from a mountain range in north-west Hungary and was later sent to a museum in Budapest where it was kept in the display for over two decades.

The specimen of the crocodile from the Jurassic era features a large portion of backbone, and scientists believe that it is can be the missing link between crocodiles and their evolution to become marine animals like dolphins. The five-metre long fossil has large, pointed teeth for grasping prey.

“With an estimated body length of 4.67—4.83m [15 feet — 16 feet] M. fitosi is the largest known non-metriorhynchid metriorhynchoid,” the study’s abstract reads.

“The combination of retaining heavy dorsal and ventral armours and having a slight hypocercal tail is unique, further highlighting the mosaic manner of marine adaptations in Metriorhynchoidea.”

In addition, study authors found that the specimen shares features from the two distinct families of prehistoric crocodiles. Some Jurassic-era crocodiles had bony armour on their backs and bellies, and limbs adapted for walking on land. Another group had tail fins and flippers but did not have armour.

The new species was heavily armoured but also had a tail fin, suggesting it is a missing link between the two groups, researchers say.

“This fossil provides a unique insight into how crocodiles began evolving into dolphin and killer whale-like forms more than 180 million years ago,” Dr. Mark Young, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences, said in a statement. “The presence of both bony armour and a tailfin highlights the remarkable diversity of Jurassic-era crocodiles.”

The study appeared in the journal Peerj.

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  • Can this article be validated for its source and details specified, as it contradicts the evolution of Dolphins from Mammals and doesn’t mention how crocodiles evolved into dolphins, since crocodiles are reptiles. Had the author of this article made a prior research on this since it seems it got posted blindly. if this is the quality of news posted then it can be said your news site should be direly avoided.

  • The writer should have read the actual paper which reveals how ancient aquatic dinosaurs evolved into crocodiles… in the same class of reptilia (and not how crocs evolved into dolphins) 😀
    Dolphins are MAMMALS. It is a classic example of retrograde evolution where land animals (mammals) got adapted to aquatic ways of life. There were land animals (mammals) in the ancient times which looked like mouse-deer (Chevrotains) and one specific extinct animal called Indohyus, literally (India’s Pigs) which became adapted to water life, gave rise to Archeocetis which is the common ancestor of both whales and dolphins. Today the closest relative of the Archeocetis are the Hippos.

  • Excuse me Crocodiles are reptiles, dolphins are mammals. No way one evolved from the other. The dolphin is related to the whales, actually it is a small whale, and the fossils of the land animals that evolved into whales were found in the early Cenozoic Era after the extinction of the dinosaurs in neighboring Pakistan. You guys need to get your science facts right.

  • This is ridiculous. Dolphins did not evolve from crocodiles. Just as birds did not evolve from pterodactyls. Just because they both developed wings does not infer a relationship, just as having a tail with similar features does not infer a relationship.

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