Ancient Crocodiles Once Feasted on Giant Tortoises on This Island

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“It was fairly clear from the beginning that these have been crocodylian stays and one thing distinctly bigger than what was discovered beforehand on the atoll,” Dr. Scheyer stated.

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A crocodylian jawbone fossil discovered by Dr. Hansen in Aldabra.

Credit score
College of Zurich, Switzerland

Though smaller crocodile fossils had been discovered on the island, the stays that Dr. Hansen discovered prompt they belonged to beasts that have been about 11 and a half ft lengthy, bigger than at the moment’s West African crocodiles however not as large as Nile crocodiles or saltwater crocodiles.

Dr. Hansen additionally discovered a fraction of a large tortoise fossil belonging to the a part of the shell that will have protected the reptile’s neck. The chunk mark on the plate, he stated, provided two attainable situations for what might need occurred.

The primary, is that the tortoise was ambushed because it drank.

“Perhaps the crocodile, in traditional crocodile trend, jumped out of the water and grabbed it in the one place the place it might seize it,” stated Dr. Hansen.

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Tortoises huddled within the shade close to the empty carapace of one other. Researchers aren’t certain but if the crocodiles scavenged on lately lifeless tortoises or hunted them.

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Dennis Hansen/College of Zurich, Switzerland

The second, is that the tortoise died close to the pond from hunger or warmth stroke within the arid setting and a close-by crocodile scavenged its rotting carapace.

Stephanie Ok. Drumheller-Horton, a paleontologist on the College of Tennessee, Knoxville, stated the findings have been supported by different examples of crocodile chunk marks within the fossil report.

“Aldabra large tortoises would have been powerful nuts to crack, even for crocodiles, who can generate extremely excessive chunk forces,” Dr. Drumheller-Horton stated. “It is smart that you’d see chunk marks across the edges of the turtle shells, the place the crocodiles might extra simply get at uncovered limbs.”

Alexander Hastings, the assistant curator of paleontology on the Virginia Museum of Pure Historical past, stated the authors confirmed that it was attainable that giant crocodiles feasted on large tortoises. However, he added, they would wish to search out proof of tortoises with healed wounds in an effort to present explicitly that the crocodiles have been actively looking and killing the large tortoises.

“It was thought one thing that large and that well-armored could be fairly secure from predation, particularly on such an remoted island,” Dr. Hastings stated. “This examine raises no less than the likelihood that they might haven’t been so secure.”

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