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The remains of a huge ancient crocodile and its well-preserved last meal have been found in the Australian state of Queensland, Science Alert reported, quoted by BTA.

The find was found at a site dating from the Cretaceous period (about 145.5 million - 65.5 million years ago).

According to experts, about 95 million years ago in the territory of modern Australia, a giant relative of the crocodile grabbed the small body of a dinosaur with his powerful jaws and swallowed it almost all at once.

Shortly afterwards, however, he died and the food remained incompletely digested in his stomach.

The victim is probably a young ornithopod, a two-legged herbivorous dinosaur.

For the first time, scientists have discovered bones of this kind in this part of Australia.

They do not rule out the possibility that the victim may be from a previously unknown dinosaur.

The remains of the ancient crocodile are missing the tail, hind limbs and much of the pelvis, but the skull and many bones of his body are quite well preserved.

According to scientists, it was over two and a half meters long when he died, and would probably have become even more massive if his life had continued.

Specialists have named it Confractosuchus sauroktonos.

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Crocodiles began to coexist with dinosaurs during the Triassic period (251.9 million - 201.3 million years ago).

This is not the first time evidence has been found that dinosaurs were a tasty treat for these predators.

Traces of teeth on dinosaur fossils suggest that some crocodiles ate them.

However, paleontologists have rarely found preserved contents in the intestines of these reptiles, as there are highly corrosive acids, as in modern animals of this species.

The new find is the first conclusive evidence that dinosaurs were eaten by giant crocodiles during the Cretaceous period, scientists say.

The bones of the small ornithopod were too fragile to be removed from the rock around them, prompting researchers to scan the crocodile's abdomen with X-ray computed tomography and then create digital three-dimensional models.

The remains were found in 2010 during excavations involving volunteers and staff at the Dinosaur Museum near Winton, Queensland, but it took more than a decade to study.

Experts estimate that the small dinosaur weighed about 1.7 kilograms.

Most of it was not well digested after ingestion, and when the crocodile caught it, it bit so hard that it managed to halve one of the ornithopod's femurs and leave a tooth in the other.

Scientists believe that the huge crocodile ate other animals during the Cretaceous.

Dinosaurs were probably a regular part of his diet.

"They may have been an important resource in the ecological food chain during the Cretaceous," said study lead author Matt White, a research fellow at the Australian Dinosaur Museum in Winton.

"In the absence of comparable specimens worldwide, this prehistoric crocodile and its latest food will continue to provide evidence of the relationships and behavior of animals that inhabited Australia millions of years ago," he added.

The data from the study are published in the publication "Gondwana Research".

crocodile

Australia

dinosaur

ancient remains

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