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Sarcosuchus imperator (3) - tooth

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Origin : Morocco - Beega (Tegana Formation)

Geological era : Early Cretaceous (Albian)

Age : 112 million of years

Size : cm 2.9

giant crocodyle fossil tooth, cm 2.5.

The Sarcosuchus (whose name means carnivorous crocodile) is an extinct genus of crocodilomorphs, far away from the ancestors of today's crocodiles, belonging to the family of Pholidosauridae, a group of reptiles similar to crocodiles, bound but not part of the Crocodylia order (crocodiles , alligators and gavial).
The remnants of S. imperator were found in 1946 in a region of the Tenerife desert, named Gadoufaoua, more precisely in Elgaz Formation of the Tegama Group, dating back to the late Aptian period and to the early of the Albian period, in the lower Cretaceous, about 112 million years ago. The first found remains were fragmentary and consisted of a skull, some vertebrae, teeth and some osteoderms. In 1964, a nearly complete skull was found in Niger but was not described until 1997; Only in 2000 did the scientists understand the true anatomy of the animal when an expedition discovered six new specimens, one of which was almost complete.
It is one of the greatest crocodiles ever lived on earth. It is estimated that fully developed adult specimens could reach the length of 11-12 meters, almost twice as large as today's marine crocodile, and weighing up to 8 tons.
Within its jaws there were more than 132 teeth (more precisely, 35 per side in the jaw and 31 per side in the mandible). At the base of the muzzle, the teeth have smooth and robust crowns that do not cling to each other when the animal closes the mouth, as in the crocodiles. The paleontologists then concluded that the animal had a diet similar to that of the Nile's crocodile, which included large prey land, such as dinosaurs living in the same region. However, in 2014 a biomechanical skeleton analysis suggests that, unlike Deinosuchus, Sarcosuchus was unable to perform the "water rotation maneuver" used by today's crocodiles to tear meat shards from the prey.
The stratigraphy of the region and the aquatic fauna found indicates that it was an indoor river environment with plenty of fresh water and a humid tropical climate. The S. imperator shared the waters with the Holosteus fish Lepidotus and the coelacanth Mawsonia. Terrestrial fauna was mostly composed of dinosaurs, including iguanodontids Lurdusaurus (which was the most common dinosaur in the region) and Ouranosaurus. There were also large sauropods like the Nigersaurus in the area. There were also some teropods that shared the gigantic crocodile with the territory and the prey, including spinosaurids Suchomimus and Spinosaurus, Carcharodontosauride Eocarcharia and Abelisauridae Kryptops.
An affine species, Sarcosuchus hartti, was found in the Reconcavo basin, Brazil, more precisely in the Ilhas formation, dating back to late Aptian period. The territory had a lake environment similar to the habitat of S. imperator, including a similar aquatic fauna, including Lepidotus and two species of Mawsonia. The presence of dinosaurs in the area is still to be defined, as the few fossils found are mostly fragmentary.

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