15 avril 2015

Carnufex carolinensis

Avant l'arrivée des dinosaures, le plus grand prédateur nord-américain était un crocodilien bipède: le "boucher de la Caroline".

Extrait de la nouvelle:

The newly discovered 231-million-year-old fossil would have been about three meters (nine feet) long when it was alive. It lived on land, walked upright, and sliced through armored reptiles and early mammal relatives with its bladelike teeth. In a study published in Scientific Reports this week, researchers named it Carnufex carolinensis, or the Carolina butcher. 

The butcher’s partial skull, jawbone, some teeth, ribs, vertebrae, and a forelimb were unearthed in Late Triassic sediments of the Carnian Pekin Formation in what’s now Chatham County, North Carolina. 

(...) During the Late Triassic, North Carolina was a warm, wet region near the equator that was just starting to break apart from the supercontinent Pangea.

(...) But their spot at the top didn’t last. A mass extinction event at the end of the Triassic about 200 million years ago wiped them all out, and only small-bodied crocodylomorphs and theropod dinos survived. "Theropods were ready understudies for vacant top predator niches when large-bodied crocs and their relatives bowed out," Zanno adds. "Predatory dinosaurs went on to fill these roles exclusively for the next 135 million years."



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