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Ancient 'Godzilla' Crocodile Discovered 175

Posted by Zonk
from the friendly-looking-critter dept.
SenseOfHumor writes "Paleontologists have discovered a huge crocodile which was a predator of large sea creatures. A Jurassic-age crocodile had the massive jaws and jagged teeth needed to hunt large sea prey, paleontologists say. The crocodile, nicknamed Godzilla, was nearly four metres long with a short snout like a T. rex, four fins and a vertical, fishlike tail." Photos and drawings are available at National Geographic, and more science at ScienceDaily.
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Ancient 'Godzilla' Crocodile Discovered

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  • " massive jaws and jagged teeth "
    "The crocodile, nicknamed Godzilla"

    my idea of intelligent design :)
  • Gojira (Score:5, Funny)

    by joe_bruin (266648) on Friday November 11, 2005 @10:52PM (#14013456) Homepage Journal
    Clearly this proves Intelligent Design, because only God would make Godzilla, the holy lizard in His name.
    • Yeah, I guess he created humans to kill each other for his entertainment for all eternity he had to settle for watching this croczilla pulverise sea creatures lacking the benefits of jagged teeth.
    • Re:Gojira (Score:2, Informative)

      by LnxAddct (679316)
      I know you were joking but...

      While this isn't an interesting find because of its size, it does add to the credibility of evolution. This species is similar to ancient crocodiles, which also had more features in common with fish, i.e. their tails, but (in addition to some other changes) this fossil has a unique skull. This is a great example of another transitional fossil to add to the record, and this find follows what evolution predicted to the "T". This fossil is exactly what one form of evolution predi
      • And a "croc" with four fins instead of legs. Another transitional feature.
      • Re:Gojira (Score:3, Insightful)

        by letxa2000 (215841)
        While this isn't an interesting find because of its size, it does add to the credibility of evolution.

        Y'think? Let's see some quotes from TFA:

        "The researchers don't yet know what events triggered the relatively sudden emergence of the large crocodile..."

        Sounds like more data that evolution can't really explain.

        "Unlike the crocodiles we know today, Dakosaurus andiniensis lived entirely in the water, and had fins instead of legs."

        What part of the skull did the researches base *that* conclusion o

        • by pohl (872) *
          And here I was thinking that science was supposed to be falsifiable, testable, and actually be a useful predictor?

          You almost get it. Falsifiable is an absolute requirement. Usefulness as a predictor must merely be present, but does not need to be everpresent., as in the case of nonlinear systems with lots of feedback.

          For example, The meteorologists' inability to tell me if it will be raining one year from today in Podunk, Nebraska does not invalidate the models used, nor could it be used to imply the

        • And here I was thinking that science was supposed to be falsifiable, testable, and actually be a useful predictor?

          Evolution scientists cannot predict exactly which changes to a species will happen, since there is a random part, namely which mutations will actually happen to individuals of that species. However, they can predict in certain cases which kind of mutations, if they happen, will likely be favored by selection, or weeded out by selection. But it's impossible to know for certain wether adaptive ch

    • Evolution and natural design are NOT mutually exclusive. Did you know that before you mocked a seriously backed theory? Natural Design simply states that the forces of evolution and natural selection are not smart enough to arrive at the complexity of life that we see today by themselves. Arriving to the state of life today could not be random, but must be guided by some higher level intellegence - which is usually assumed to be God.
      People should actually research things before condemning them.
      • I can not decide if you are being a troll or not.

        If you are - then - whatever.

        If it is not - then it's called a "joke". Even if you believe in ID, it's still a joke, and a funny one. The parent did not state the validity of ID - merely making a joke about the use of the word "God" in the name of an ancient creature.

        If you can not take the joke, then there is something truly sad about your whole position. Heck, people make jokes about mine all the time, and I laugh, because its funny.

        So please, think abou
      • Then you subscribe to the infinite number of gods theory?
      • This is complete nonsense and fundie gobbledygook. Go read some work by Robert Hazen or other scientists' regarding origins of life research. Not your church minister.

        While there is no consensus on how the chemical reactions leading to initial living organisms occured, we have a fairly complete picture of the steps involved. Recent research shows that the odds of life forming on earth 40 billion years ago are very plausible. Some gaps remain but nothing drastic enough to negate the current scientific know

        • oops. Typo alert! I meant 4 billion years ago, not 40, of course.
    • You don't seriously think there isn't more to the universe than we can see now?

      Where do you think the stories about sea monsters and dragons across multiple cultures come from?

  • by CHESTER COPPERPOT (864371) on Friday November 11, 2005 @10:52PM (#14013458)
    You'll notice on that first photo on the National Geographic that Godzilla is in fact battling what scientists have renamed a Mothra not a pterodactyl.
  • Cue the.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chickenofbristol55 (884806) on Friday November 11, 2005 @10:52PM (#14013459) Homepage
    large crowd of screaming Japanese people!
  • Not that huge (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2005 @10:54PM (#14013465)
    How this could be a "huge" crocodile? wikipedia lists crocs bigger than that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocodile [wikipedia.org]
    • by mchawi (468120) on Friday November 11, 2005 @11:01PM (#14013500)
      I'm glad I'm not the only one that had this thought. I've seen Steve Irwin wrestle crocs larger than that ;)

      Maybe it grows bigger if you're nice to it. Of course, maybe they're thinking 'if I drop a nuke on this I'd have Godzilla!'. Who ever knows with scientists...
      • > I've seen Steve Irwin wrestle crocs larger than that ;)

        Crickey! This Steve Irwin bloke sounds like he is an alcoholic. [news.com.au]

        Or he is just stupid.

        Yes, I am Australian and no average Australian's don't try to wrestle crocs on a daily basis.
    • Re:Not that huge (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Audacious (611811) on Friday November 11, 2005 @11:31PM (#14013608) Homepage
      Yeah, I went "Say what?" when they said 4 METERS! The Smithsonian had a snake on display one time that wound through four rooms and was large enough to eat an elephant whole. THAT was large! (And a bit scary too!) Made me nervous just seeing how large it was and thinking what I'd do if I met such a creature (like mess my pants and run like crazy!).

      But then, if you have never gone to Washington D.C. and gone to the Smithsonian - you need to make the trip. The natural sciences building has all sorts of fantastic things on display. They had a wooly mammoth on display when I was there as well. Huge beast. But no where near as scary as that giant snake.

      The got'cha was the skeleton of the T-Rex they had hidden behind a turn. You came around the turn and there it was with it's mouth open ready to bite you in half. I heard several people make half-screams (those little eeps!) when they came to it. Strangely my first reaction was to sock the thing one until I realized it was just a skeleton. I guess the old fight or flight thing was in overdrive after having been shocked with the snake.
    • You'll find the biggest crocs in congress!
    • Yeah, lots of people here are picking up on the overuse of breathless superlatives with this thing. It's kind of ridiculous. Four meters is hardly "huge" even by the standards of modern crocs, much less some of the prehistoric ones. (It does sound rather large for the sort of specialized marine crocodiles this beast was related to.) Quotes like "the most fearsome predator in the sea" (from the Science Daily article) are also silly, considering that this time frame was also the era of the giant pliosaurs [dinosauria.com]
  • by rasafras (637995) <.tamas. .at. .pha.jhu.edu.> on Friday November 11, 2005 @10:54PM (#14013467) Homepage
    Only 13 feet? Hell, I used to wrestle gators bigger than that in New York sewers...
  • I hope DNA is still useful and extractable. Let them (scientists) extract it. If they can find a few cells, cloning could be possible. Then, once again there can be a chance of seeing the giant creature alive.
    • by Anon.Pedant (892943) on Friday November 11, 2005 @11:12PM (#14013544)
      You can't be serious; these are 140 million year old fossils! These are rocks, and you can be sure they won't "find a few cells." Even DNA from mammoths that have been frozen for only 10 thousand years are fragmentary.
      (Or maybe I just don't get the joke.)
      • Actually some fossils that old have been found to still contain fragments of the DNA. It's rare but it does happen. It mostly depends on the permeability of the surrounding rocks. Some are so insulatory that they managed to capture some cellular structures for hundreds of millions of years. I know it's hard to comprehend but it's true.
    • Yes! Maybe we can clone a bunch of these creatures and make a theme park!! What could possibly go wrong?
  • CRIKEY! (Score:5, Funny)

    by perlow (451482) on Friday November 11, 2005 @10:59PM (#14013488) Homepage
    "Now mate, look what happens when I shove my whole body up this Jurrasic croc's cloaca. She gets really grumpy, But not as grumpy as my wife!"
  • 4 meters? Godzilla? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ManyLostPackets (646646) on Friday November 11, 2005 @10:59PM (#14013490)
    How about this one?, big as a school bus! http://www.supercroc.com/pressarticles/msnbc.htm [supercroc.com]
  • by Anon.Pedant (892943) on Friday November 11, 2005 @11:01PM (#14013501)
    Maybe the poster was so breathless from all the hype that they didn't notice that this HUGE Godzilla-like beast is SMALLER than modern crocodiles. Nile Crocodiles can be 5 meters long, while Saltwater Crocs can be over six meters. Revised headline: Paleontologists discover midget crocodile! -- Anonymous Pedant
    • by Artega VH (739847) on Friday November 11, 2005 @11:10PM (#14013536) Journal
      Exactly. In fact the largest recorded Saltwater crocodile was almost 9 meters in length [wikipedia.org].

      The first thing I thought when I read this (and its been in regular news sites for a day and a bit) was "mmm thats pretty small" and its especially small when compared with SuperCroc [wikipedia.org] (although there is an interesting clash of largest recorded sizes for salties between those two wikipedia articles)
      • [Quote]Largest crocodile ever recorded? What about the big fish stories I mentioned earlier? Would you believe the largest saltwater crocodile ever reported was 10.1 m (33.1 feet)? This animal was apparently killed in the Bay of Bengal, and was so large only its head was recovered. A skull reportedly belonging to this animal was stored in the British Museum, but when it was measured later it was estimated to have come from a 15.7 ft (4.8 m) crocodile - less than half the claimed length. The skull of another
    • Hell, it's smaller than a bull alligator.
    • Maybe the poster was so breathless from all the hype that they didn't notice that this HUGE Godzilla-like beast is SMALLER than modern crocodiles. Nile Crocodiles can be 5 meters long, while Saltwater Crocs can be over six meters. Revised headline: Paleontologists discover midget crocodile! -- Anonymous Pedant

      Length is one dimension. I wonder if this godzilla crocodile was otherwise bigger than modern crocodiles.

  • by Sebilrazen (870600) <blahsebilrazen@blah.com> on Friday November 11, 2005 @11:04PM (#14013510)
    ...but come on, this is just Prehistoric.
    • Dispite rumours of a patch-up, members of the supercontinent Godwanaland [dinodata.net] have officially disbanded and gone their seperate ways. "It's not that I don't like them, we've just drifted apart," said ex-member Australia, "I just need to do my own thing for a while, evolve my own style. I might bump into the rest sometime later on, it's a small world." Not all members of the supercontinent have taken the break-up so well. India was last seen driving north at high-speed toward Laurasia. "Could be a bad accident if
  • was "man, Toyko is gonna be f%cked.
    Second thought was does this give more credability to the people that say man existed the same time as these things, citing myths containing them to be evidence.
    Third thought is that thing is way too freaking small to be Godzilla, I'm disappointed now. (All because of the name, if they would have just said Giant Serpent or something I would be fine).
  • by jcr (53032)
    I wonder why modern crocs have elongated jaws. Does it give them any particular advantage in hunting?

    Any zoologists care to weigh in?

    -jcr

    • Re:Snouts (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Nazadus (605794)
      I'm not a zoologist, however if I had to venture a guess:
      The snouts lengths increased as it began eawting more water based creaters than land based. Fish would seem allot easier to catch and eat (this saving energy) than a bear or whatever.

      Having a longer snout would also make it harder to close if it catches something at the bare end of it's teeth -- since it's something small like fish, it doesn't matter. But if it's a bigger animal (like a Dinosaur), I would assume that having a smaller but more potent (
    • The shape of the snout is influenced by diet. Those species with strong bites for hard-shelled prey (eg. alligators, caimans) have wide, broad snouts that are reinforced and capable of withstanding higher bite pressures. Long snouts ("longirostrine") are more easily swept through the water - less resistance - and hence are found in species that eat aquatic prey, fish etc.

      However, crocs are opportunistic predators and most longirostrine species will eat terrestrial prey if given half the chance. Even Indi
  • by seanvaandering (604658) <sean.vaandering@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday November 11, 2005 @11:30PM (#14013603)
    Check these timestamps...

    Science: Ancient 'Godzilla' Crocodile Discovered
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @09:48PM

    Watching All Six Star Wars Movies Simultaneously
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @07:44PM

    Slashback: KDE, Tsunami Hacker, and Image Bugs
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @06:43PM

    IT: Ignore Vista Until 2008
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @05:54PM

    Games: The Reality of Patent Expirations for the NES
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @05:12PM

    Your Rights Online: Three Companies Shutdown For Spyware Bundling
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @04:31PM

    AOL Fight Narrows To Two Players
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @03:49PM

    IT: Sony Pulls Controversial Anti-Piracy Software
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @03:14PM

    Games: Old School Gameplay Collides With Modern Graphics
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @02:41PM

    Linux: Microsoft Reports OSS Unix Beats Windows XP
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @01:55PM

    Book Reviews: Hardening Linux
    Posted by samzenpus on Friday November 11, @01:10PM

    Linux: Dell's Open Source Desktop Systems
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @12:29PM

    Your Rights Online: Amazon Gets Patent on Consumer Reviews
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @11:50AM

    Science: Quantum Computing Regulation Already?
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @11:14AM

    IT: Data Centers And DC Power
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @10:33AM

    Apple: Mac OS X x86 Put To The Test
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    Linux: Torvalds Gets Tough on Kernel Contributors
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @09:12AM

    Games: Revolution Least Expensive Next-Gen Console
    Posted by Zonk on Friday November 11, @08:31AM

    That would be almost 14 hours solid on Slashdot, with a break provided by samzenpus at 1pm - is it really that bad to work for CmdrTaco? :)
  • Sure 4 m may not seem like a giant crocodile but I don't think anyone can deny that the creature in this "photo [nationalgeographic.com]" is a giant for sure!!

    Seriously, that flying dinosaur it's going after would have to be the size of a sparrow for the scales in that picture to work!

    respect_for_national_geographic--;
    • Sure 4 m may not seem like a giant crocodile but I don't think anyone can deny that the creature in this "photo" is a giant for sure!!

      Seriously, that flying dinosaur it's going after would have to be the size of a sparrow for the scales in that picture to work!

      respect_for_national_geographic--;

      You can leave your respect for National Geographic alone; there's nothing wrong with the scale in that painting as long as you remember that most pterosaurs weren't huge. This croc's skull is about 2.5 feet l

      • You can leave your respect for National Geographic alone; there's nothing wrong with the scale in that painting as long as you remember that most pterosaurs weren't huge. This croc's skull is about 2.5 feet long, with the jaws being a little over half that length, and there were plenty of pterosaurs with wingspans of a meter or less, especially during the Jurassic and earlier. It was only when the birds started diversifying in the Cretaceous, taking over all the small-flyer niches, that the remaining pteros
    • the NG article is absurd. i generally find popular science writing to be pretty terrible, but this is just pathetic.

      4 meters. and they're calling it godzilla?

      "Fossils from a real-life sea monster--a massive crocodile-like species--have been unearthed in Patagonia, Argentina. The animal likely measured 13 feet (4 meters) long from nose to tail."

      a MASSIVE SEA MONSTER? it's 13 feet. there was a 14-foot alligator practically in my grandparents backyard a few years ago. big whoop.

      this is probably the sing
  • ...a ferocious predator, feeding on other marine reptiles and large sea creatures...

    ...and yet, National Geo's dramatic illustration shows the fearsome beast springing from the waves to snatch down a flying ptero-whatzis. I guess a photo-op is a photo-op...

  • I move that we change the name of the animal from "Godzilla" to "Godzuki". Then promptly try to forget it.
  • It only measured 13 feet from head to tail. Steve's baby wrestles with crocs bigger than that.

    This a pathetic attempt to get some funding so the researchers won't have to go back to making fries.

  • Not very exceptional (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Belseth (835595)
    The largest crocodile fossils found so far have mostly been in South America, there have been large ones found in Texas as well. The biggest so far was around 50', at last word. That would dwarf the new find. I would have said the fish shaped tail made it unique but that's not the first time for that feature. Actually sounds fairly unexceptional so far. Have to check out the NG issue and see if there's more to it. 19' to 21' is the accepted high end for salt water Crocs but there have been larger ones foun
    • Actually, the largest fossil crocodyliforms known are 35 to 40 feet long (eg. Sarcosuchus imperator, Deinosuchus, Rhamphosuchus) based on a very small number of specimens found.

      As for Gustav, I seriously doubt he's over 20 feet long based on photos, video and descriptions I've seen. I've spoken with colleagues who've seen him and they acknowledge that he's a very big Nile Croc, but not a shred of evidence that he's anywhere near the monster size that's been mentioned like 25 feet. I hope someone catches
  • why do some ancient bones like this fossilize and others just whither away into dust? I'm guessing the latter happens more often than not otherwise there would be bones just about everywhere from every creature.
  • Reportedly, the beast was discovered after a search began after a tipoff from a Japanese man on his deathbed
  • Can someone explain the Godzilla comparison to me?
  • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Saturday November 12, 2005 @12:48AM (#14013872) Homepage
    I still thought of this [biblegateway.com].
  • Have they alerted Toyko?

    AAAAEEEEEEEIIIIIIII the soldiers have failed to stop Gogirra!

  • Gomek was a large croc captured in the Amazon and bought by Arthur Jones, inventor of the Nautilus machines. It was transferred to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine FL. It was nearly 7 meters long.

    I saw it before it died a few years ago. Really BIG.
    Lots of sturdy security fencing around it to prevent it from snatching a tourist. You could see it from underwater through plate glass. It's mouth was big enough to hold the whole me.

  • I, for one, welcome our new Fossilized Ancient 'Godzilla' Crocodile overlords.
  • With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
    He pulls the spitting high tension wires down

    Helpless people on a subway train
    Scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them

    He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
    As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town

    Oh no, they say he's got to go
    Go go godzilla, yeah
    Oh no, there goes tokyo
    Go go godzilla, yeah
  • I wouldnt be surprised to see a 4 meter salty up round North NT or QLD, Australia. 3 meters is probably average. 4 Meters should be attainable.
    • In fact...

      The largest species of crocodile in the world is Crocodylus porosus, the saltwater or estuarine crocodile. In fact, this is the largest living reptile in the world, bar nil. Snake afficionados may argue that there are longer snakes, but none combine both length (over 6 metres) and body mass (over 1.5 tonnes) to reach such large overall sizes like the saltwater crocodile can.

      Big Croc [ufl.edu]

      Burt, in the photograph above, is a captive crocodile in Darwin, Australia. He's over 16 feet (4.9 m) long, which is
  • ...is that THIS is what they waste the 'Godzilla' appellation on? A weird looking crocodile ancestor? Give me a break. This a slap in the face to all those poor hapless Japanese people who have lost their lives in the many senseless monster attacks since the end of WWII. I would have hoped that fossil geeks would have the wherewithal to save the Big G label for something that could have eaten a T-rex onehanded. Kids these days.
  • by POds (241854) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @02:21AM (#14014175) Homepage Journal
    Wikipedia now include templates that state certain articles have been linked to slashdot, and thus require extra attention :|

    [quote]
    This article has recently been linked from Slashdot (backlink).
    Please keep an eye on the page history for errors or vandalism.
    [/quote]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estuarine/Saltwater_C rocodile [wikipedia.org]
  • ...Kansas called and they want their 'gator back.
  • The crocodle farm and zoo at Samut prakan [paknam.com] in Thailand has a 6m specimin called "Yai" (Thai for "big"). Weighing in at 1,114kg, it is recognised by the Guiness book of World Records. Frankly, it looks pretty sleepy and overfed in its photos. I still would be careful around it.

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