Scientists have discovered that a 93-million-year-old crocodile had eaten a baby dinosaur shortly before its death, having used nuclear techniques to scan the fossilized stomach contents.
The crocodile’s remains were found inside a large boulder in Central Queensland, Australia, back in 2010.
Now a team from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and the University of New England have used advanced nuclear and synchrotron imaging to confirm that the hungry croc had eaten a juvenile dinosaur before it died, having published their findings in the journal Godwana Research.
The crocodile has been named Confractosuchus sauroktonos, which translates as ‘the broken crocodile dinosaur killer’, and measured about 2-2.5m in length. The ‘broken’ part of its name refers to the fact that it was discovered in a huge, shattered boulder.
Senior Instrument Scientist Dr. Joseph Bevitt, the co-author of the study, said: “The fossilized remains were found in a large boulder. Concretions often form when organic matter, or say a crocodile, sinks to the bottom of a river.
“Because the environment is rich in minerals, within days the mud around the organism can solidify and harden because of the presence of bacteria.”