Croc finds are ancient new species

By David Newble

Saturday, March 15, 2014

 

TWO fragments of a tiny crocodile skull, found three months apart by different collectors near Sandown, not only fit together perfectly to make a complete skull — they have also revealed a new species of ancient crocodile.

The species, dating from 126 million years ago, has been named koumpiodontosuchus aprosdokiti, which means the 'unexpected button-toothed crocodile’ by Island-based University of Portsmouth palaeontologist Dr Steve Sweetman.

The back half of the tiny skull was found by Diane Trevarthen, while on a fossil hunting holiday with her family. She took her discovery straight to Dinosaur Isle to show it to staff, thinking it might be part of a skull belonging to a baby of one of the Island’s well-known large cretaceous crocodiles.

Three months later, Austin and Finley Nathan, also fossil-hunting while holidaying on the Island, found another tiny fragment of skull, this time a snout.

They also took their find to Dinosaur Isle, where staff remembered they had seen the back part of a similar skull a few months earlier.

Both collectors have donated their pieces of skull to the museum.

Dr Sweetman said: "Both parts of this wonderful little skull are in good condition, which is most unusual when you consider that crashing waves usually batter and blunt the edges of fossils like this within days, or even hours, of them being washed on to the beach."

Dinosaur Isle’s Gary Blackwell prepared the lower part of the skull to free it of mineral encrustations. His work revealed the bones of the palate and the inner opening of the airway from the nose.

Dr Sweetman added: "The location of the hole in the mouth, where the airway from the nose opens, was surrounded by bones at the very back of the palate.

"This tells us the discovery is not only a new species but also a new genus of ancient croc, closely related to, but subtly different to those alive today."

Reporter: davidn@iwcpmail.co.uk

Comments

Log-in or register to comment on this story. See our House Rules here.

By ticking "Remember me" you agree to a cookie being stored on your computer - no personal data is shared.

Forgotten your password?

Log-in to Report

by steve paul taylor

15th March 2014, at 16:18:20

COUNTY PRESS WHY ARE YOU ENABLING COMMENTS ON YOUR SITE WHEN YOU ARE SO SELECTIVE ON WHAT STORIES WE ARE ALLOW TO COMMENT ON !!!! IE BADGER POISONING. THIS IS MY LAST COMMENT EVER ITS STUPID!!! NOT THIS COMMENT!! THE COUNTY PRESS OPINION ON WHAT WE ARE ALLOWED AND NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE AN OPINION ON.RASPBERRY

Log-in to Report

by Tony Tiltman Jnr

15th March 2014, at 10:47:32

yawnnn

Log-in to Report

by steve paul taylor

15th March 2014, at 09:33:43

HAHA yet again County press news about as old as the bones

Log-in to Report

by Mike Crowe

15th March 2014, at 08:29:34

.

""The species, dating from 126 million years ago""

and how long has man been here?

and he thinks he can make a difference and 'alter nature'?

:-(

.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

View our Elgin Traffic & Travel Map