10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Ancestors of Crocodiles

A catastrophe wiped out most crurotarsans during the Triassic period.

Crocodiles seem scary, mainly because they have the ability to devour and shred humans in one go. I was doing some research the other day and discovered that their ancestors used to walk on two legs back in the olden days. The said ancestors of crocs are known as crocodylomorphs. 

Well-preserved track impressions of the ancestors of crocodiles.
Well-preserved track impressions of the ancestors of crocodiles. Source: NAT Geo

Multiple studies and reports suggest that crocodiles evolved during the Cretaceous period and started walking on two legs. They are believed to be distant relatives of dinosaurs. However, they changed and got better over time. Moreover, they say crocodiles are built to last. They have outlived dinosaurs and are still present amid us. They are undoubtedly some of the most ferocious animals that walked planet earth.

An ancestor of the modern-day croc stood nine feet tall and walked on its hind legs. It's been lovingly christened the Carolina Butcher.
An ancestor of the modern-day croc stood nine feet tall and walked on its hind legs. It’s been lovingly christened the Carolina Butcher. Source: North Carolina State University

Here are ten interesting facts you probably didn’t know about crocodylomorphs, the ancestors of crocodiles: 

1) The footprints were found at Jinju, South Korea: 

Martin Lockley, a palaeontologist who specialises in trace fossils, claims to have found footprints that belong to the ancestors of crocodiles. The tracks at Jinju, Korea, provide extensive information about the animals’ toes, pads on the bottoms of their feet, and even the occasional patch of skin. 

2) The footprints that were found at Jinju belong to crocodylomorphs:

The footprints discovered at Jinju convinced Martin Lockley and his associates that they belong to crocodylomorphs. The crocodylomorphs can be described as the relatives of crocodiles that were over nine feet long.

3) Experts claim that bipedal crocodilians resided in North America during the Triassic period:

Experts claim that bipedal crocodilians are not entirely unheard of. A few other studies suggest that early crocodylomorphs living in North America during the Triassic period may have been bipedal as well. Palaeontologists are not sure when these two-legged crocs went extinct.

4) Martin claims that it was compulsory for the crocs to be two-legged during the olden days: 

Martin Lockley, the head of the research, believes that it was necessary for the crocs to be two-legged during the Cretaceous period. The landscape was quite flat, and they needed two legs to be able to run fast. It was crucial for hunting. 

5) Lockley suggests that the crocodylomorph were travelling through a lake when they left their foot impressions: 

Lockley claims that the tracks were found in a lake. He believes that the animals were floating on the surface of a lake while pushing themselves forward with their legs. 

6) The crocodylomorph has been classified as new species: 

The crocodylomorph has been recognised as new species based on its footprints. Tracks like the ones recently found are thought to have been made by extinct crocodylomorphs of the genus Protosuchus. 

7) Crocodile’s ancestors evolved around 245 million years ago:

Yes, the first ancestors evolved approximately 245 million years ago. Crocodilians appeared about 80 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. This group includes alligatoroids, relatives of the crocodiles, and caimans.

8) The ancestors of crocodiles took multiple forms during the Triassic period:

During the Triassic period, crocodile ancestors expanded into an extensive array of terrestrial forms, from slender, long-legged animals something like wolves to huge, ferocious predators.

9) A catastrophe wiped out most crurotarsans during the Triassic period:

According to multiple studies, an unknown cataclysm wiped out most crurotarsans during the Triassic period. When the land cleared, dinosaurs took over. At the same time, enormous swimming predators such as plesiosaurs had evolved in the ocean, leaving little room for interlopers. The crocs that survived took on new forms.

10) Crocodiles cannot go extinct easily:

Dinosaurs have gone extinct over the centuries, but crocs survived. They are built to survive disasters and can easily evolve under any circumstances. As stated above, they are built to last.

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