|Ann Darrow and the fictional crocodile Foetodon from Peter Jackson's King Kong|
Amazingly, there was a fossil crocodilian that resembles the latter in size and form.
Anyway, I've been spending the last few months reading this very in-depth book, reading through sections by Kristina Curry Rogers, Peter Makovicy, and Gregory S. Paul just to name a few. Finally I came across a section titled Non-Dinosaurian Vertebrates written by Nicholas C. Fraser, whom you might know from his recent book In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs (which I have yet to read). The section reviewed the many fossil vertebrates that lived alongside the dinosaurs, such as plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, mammals, and numerous other fossil groups from the Mesozoic. The section was strangely short, only about 26 pages long compared to the 40 pages some of the other paleontologists wrote (not including references). Still, I was pleased with the chapter, and it taught me many things that I didn't know about non-archosaurian reptiles from the age. So why am I bringing this up exactly? Simple, I was extremely disappointed at the crocodile section of the chapter.
|The recently described Kaprosuchus (or Boar Croc) from North Africa, one of|
Paul Sereno's newly discovered fossil crocs from the region.
The section had very little content on the fossil crocodilians during the Mesozoic; less than three paragraphs are dedicated to the entire evolution of the group. And what is covered in the section is largely already known by most dino-nerds like myself, such as the already well-known super crocs of the age and the sea-going metriorhynchids. It's somewhat ironic because Fraser even states at the beginning that crocodiles were as diverse as dinosaurs and pterosaurs, yet he devotes three whole pages on the evolution and diversification of the pterosauria.
This is not meant by any means to be an attack on Fraser, as I said I absolutely loved the section. I'm just disappointed that he devoted such little space to the crocodilians when there is so much to cover, especially since fossil crocs are finally getting some much-deserved media attention for their quirkiness.
Notosuchus was a terrestrial crocodile that lived in South America during the Late Cretaceous.
You might call it the Mesozoic equivalent of a pig, with its hog-like snout and fleshy lips.
So the next few topics will likely be on these crocodilians. In fact, I've basically got the next few months of blogs planned out unless I get more requests. Along with crocodiles, I'm hoping to write about spinosaurid skulls, extinct giant birds, dinosaur footprints, and hopefully raptors. Also, since I happened to bring up The Complete Dinosaur Second Edition, I may do a review of it in the future. If a review would be of interest, let me know in the comments. Until next time, stay sharp!