Australian scientists have discovered the fossil of a 93-million-year-old crocodile in Central Queensland that has the remains of a baby dinosaur in its stomach.
Originally discovered in 2010 by the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum along with the University of New England (UNE), the remains have only recently been scanned with advanced nuclear and synchrotron imaging which has confirmed the remains of the baby dinosaur in the abdomen. According to SciTechDaily, the crocodile is known as a Confractosuchus sauroktonos which means the ‘broken crocodile dinosaur killer’.
Scanning of the fossil was done by a neutron imaging instrument called Dingo in 2015 according to the findings in Gondwana Research. The instrument produces two and three-dimensional images of a solid object, such as a fossil. Parts of the crocodile were found partially crushed with restoration of the crocodile taking place over the last 10 years.
Researchers from UNE stated that the prehistoric crocodile would have been about 2.5 metres long. Senior Instrument Scientist Dr Joseph Bevitt told Indy100 that the reptile has a near-complete skull with 35 per cent of its skeleton preserved and that the discovery of the young dinosaur in the crocodile’s stomach was aided by technology.
“In the initial scan in 2015, I spotted a buried bone in there that looked like a chicken bone with a hook on it and thought straight away that it was a dinosaur,” he said.
“Human eyes had never seen it previously, as it was, and still is totally encased in rock,”
“The fossilised remains were found in a large boulder [and] concretions often form when organic matter, or say a crocodile, sinks to the bottom of the river.”
Dr Bevitt stated that “Because the environment is rich in minerals, within days the mud around the organism can solidify and harden because [of] the presence of the bacteria”. Scientists believe the crocodile died in a flood
The species of the juvenile dinosaur is still unknown however the fossil of the crocodile can currently be seen at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum in Winton, Queensland.