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Fossil hunters have made an incredible discovery in the Sahara desert: the remains of ancient crocodiles that once roamed the land and dominated the rivers of North Africa millions of years ago.

Led by renowned paleontologist Paul Sereno, excavations in the 1990s revealed the fossilized skeletons of primitive crocodiles. Among these fossils was the impressive Sarcosuchus imperator, the SuperCroc. While fragments of this massive creature had been found in 1966, Sereno’s team unearthed several partial skeletons dating back 110 million years in Niger.

The SuperCroc was a marvel of prehistoric times, with a head as large as Sereno and estimated to be around 40 feet long. These discoveries shed light on the diverse and fascinating ecosystem in ancient North Africa, where crocodiles thrived in the water and roamed the land with astonishing size and power.

Returning to the Sahara desert repeatedly, Sereno made astounding discoveries that unveiled a lost world of ancient crocodiles. These creatures, some resembling modern-day animals, provided insight into the diverse wildlife that once thrived in North Africa.

Among Sereno’s finds was the DogCroc, a species named Araripesuchus wegeneri, which bore a striking resemblance to a dog both in appearance and behavior. With tall legs and a keen sense of smell, this crocodile navigated its environment like its canine counterparts.

Another intriguing discovery was the terrestrial DuckCroc, known scientifically as Anatosuchus. Measuring about three feet long, this crocodile had physical characteristics reminiscent of a duck-billed platypus, adapting to life on land rather than solely in water.

Also, Sereno unearthed the RatCroc, or Araripesuchus rattoides, a diminutive crocodile measuring just two feet in length. This land-dwelling species featured front teeth specifically adapted for digging up insects, showcasing the diverse range of adaptations among ancient crocodiles.

Many of these ancient crocodiles exhibited behaviors and lifestyles distinct from their modern counterparts. Unlike today’s alligators, which employ a passive hunting strategy, these ancient crocodiles were more agile, active, and possibly even smarter. Their hunting techniques required greater brainpower, suggesting a higher intelligence level than present-day alligators.

In addition to these unusual crocodiles, more typical species also thrived in this ancient ecosystem. While similar in appearance to modern-day counterparts, these crocodiles could grow to much larger sizes. Despite the presence of these more traditional crocodiles, the unique adaptations and behaviors of the ancient species set them apart in this prehistoric paradise.

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