for National Geographic News
Crocs vs. Dinosaurs
Outside Georgia, Deinosuchus apparently took on slightly more challenging prey, according to older bite-mark evidence, which Columbus State paleontologist David R. Schwimmer presented alongside Harrell at the meeting.
Deinosuchus tooth impressions in the bones of their prey tell the tale of titanic battles in which the 29-foot-long (9-meter-long) crocs took down dinosaurs their own size—including the T. rex relatives Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis and Albertosaurus (see picture above).
"One of the marks shows signs that the bone was healed, which means that the animal survived the bite," Schwimmer said.
"That proves that at least this one specimen was obviously [indicative of] predation and not scavenging."
Schwimmer first noticed strange, dimpled, egg-shaped indentations in Georgia sea turtle fossils. Later he saw similar marks in dinosaur bones in Big Bend National Park in Texas and in the New Jersey State Museum.
"I realized these bites were from something with really powerful jaws and lots of teeth," he said. "And it was pretty obvious that this big, blunt-toothed croc was the source.
"There was nothing else I've found that could create blunt bite marks like these.
Three sets of fangs--so long they jutted above and below the jaw when shut (as seen in the skull at bottom)--handily sliced meat, while a snout reinforced with bonelike armor boosted the animal's ramming power
The creature would lie motionless, waiting "for something stupid" to swim into its rail-thin, 3-foot-long (0.9-meter-long) jaws (bottom), which were lined with rows of spiky teeth, Sereno said.
One of five newfound crocs that coexisted during the Cretaceous, PancakeCroc likely evolved its unique adaptations to reign over its own corner of the lush, river-carved plains of present-day Niger and Morocco.