Miocene fossils from Africa provide new evidence for the origin of American crocodiles paleontology


A team of paleontologists from Italy and Spain compared the only well-preserved skull Crocodylus Chechiai, An extinct species of crocodile, now living in Libya 7 million years ago (Miocene era) of four living species of crocodiles in the Americas, and found that ancient African reptiles are closely associated with American crocodiles. The findings suggest that crocodiles may have migrated from Africa to the Americas during the Miocene.

Life presence of Crocodylus Chechiai From Asa Sahabi, Libya. Image Credit: DA Eurino

Skull of an adult and associated lower jaw Crocodylus Chechiai It was collected in 1938 at the archaeological site of Aas Sahabi in northern Libya.

The specimen was described in 1947 by the Italian paleontologist Angiola Maria McGagno and then hosted in the collection of the Istituto de Paleontologia deli’universitia di Roma.

So that knowledge can improve Crocodylus Chechiai And its possible relationship with American crocodiles, from the Universito di Torino to Drs. Massimo Delfino and Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and their colleagues tried to trace the origins Crocodylus Chechiai Skull.

Researchers succeeded in finding it in the collection of the Museo Universitario de Scienze della Terra of the Sapanyaja University in Rome.

They then used computed tomography (CT) imaging to re-examine well-preserved specimens.

The 7 million-year-old skull of Crocodylus checchiai from As Sahabi, Libya, is among the views of the dorsal (a1, a2), ventral (b1, b2), right lateral (c1, c2) and left lateral (d1, d2).  Anatomical Abbreviations: Bow - Basiocipital, BS - Basophenoid, ACT - Ectopterygoid, N - External Naris, F - Frontal, If - Invasive Foreman, Itf - Infratermal Fenestra, J - Jugal, L - Lacrimal, M - Maxilla, N - Nasal O - Class, Pa - Parietal, Pal - Palate, PF - Prefrontal, PM - Premaxilla, Po - Postorbital, PT - Pertigoed, Q - Quadrate, QJ - Quadratophagonal, Society - Supracopital, Sof - Suborbital fenestra, Class - Squamoscal.  - Saparatompernal fenestra, T - tooth.  Scale bar - 10 cm.  Image credit: Delfino et al, doi: 10.1038 / s41598-020-68482-5.

7 million year old skull Crocodylus Chechiai As Sahbi, from Libya, dorsal (A1, A2), ventral (B1, B2), right lateral (C1, C2) and left lateral (D1, D2) views. Anatomical Abbreviations: Bow – Basiocipital, BS – Basophenoid, ACT – Ectopterygoid, N – External Naris, F – Frontal, If – Invasive Foreman, Itf – Infratermal Fenestra, J – Jugal, L – Lacrimal, M – Maxilla, N – Nasal O – Orbit, Pa – parietal, Pal – palate, PF – Prefrontal, PM – Premaxilla, Po – Postorbital, PT – Pertigoed, Q – Quadrate, QJ – Quadratagal, Society – Supracopital, Sof – Suborbital fenestra, Class – Squamosal, – Spermatompral Fenestra, t – teeth. Scale bar – 10 cm. Image Credit: Delfino and others, doi: 10.1038 / s41598-020-68482-5.

He identified several new internal structures, including a protrusion in the middle of the snout that has not been identified on any other African crocodile species.

This unique structure, called the Mid-Rostral Boss, is also present in four living American crocodile species: Crocodylus intermediate, C. Moreletii, C. acutus and C. Rhumbifer, And indicates a close evolutionary relationship between Crocodylus Chechiai And crocodiles from America.

“Analysis of evolutionary relationships between species shows that Crocodylus Chechiai Scientists said four American crocodiles may be part of the same lineage as the species.

Remains of Crocodylus Chechiai Dated approximately 7 million years ago, while the oldest remains of an American crocodile, extinct Crocodylus falconensis, Is dated to about 5 million years ago. “

“Based on these findings, we propose that crocodiles migrate westward from Australia through Africa to the Americas.”

The findings were published in the journal Scientific report.

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M. Delfino and others. 2020. Older African fossils provide new evidence for the origin of American crocodiles. Science representative 10, 11127; Doi: 10.1038 / s41598-020-68482-5

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