Before a date of more than five meters in length, a crocodile – called the “king of the swamp” – ruled the waterways of southeastern Queensland only a few million years ago.
Researchers at the University of Queensland have identified a new species of prehistoric crocodile – named it Paludirex wins – Fossils first discovered in the 1980s.
Jorgo Ristevsky, PhD from the UG School of Biological Sciences, said the species was named after Geoff Vincent, who discovered a giant fossil skull near the town of Chinchilla.
“In Latin, ‘Paludirex’ means ‘king of the swamp’ and ‘vincenti’ pays homage to the late Mr. Vincent,” he said.
“For several years, the fossil skull was exhibited at the Queensland Museum before being donated to the Chinchilla Museum in 2011.
“The ‘King of the Swamp’ was one of the scariest. The size of the fossilized skull is 65 centimeters, so we estimate Paludirex wins was at least five feet long.
“The largest crocodile today is the Indo-Pacific crocodile. Crocodylus porosus, grows to about the same size. However, Paludirex had a wider, heavier skull, so it looked like an Indo-Pacific crocodile on steroids. ”
Paludirex was one of the largest predators capable of hunting prehistoric marsupials in Australia several million years ago.
“Darling Downs’ waterways used to be a very dangerous place,” Ristevski said.
Dr. Ristevsky’s supervisor, Dr. Steve Salisbury said there were different types of prehistoric crocodiles in Australia.
Dr. “Crocs have been an important part of Australia’s fauna for millions of years,” Salisbury said.
“But the two types we have today – Crocodylus porosus and Crocodylus Johnstoni – are only recent arrivals and were not part of the endemic croc fauna that existed here about 55 million years ago.
“All right Paludirex wins became extinct as a result of competition with species such as Crocodylus porosus hard to say.
“The alternative is to become extinct as the climate dries out and the river systems that once inhabited decline – we are currently exploring both scenarios.”
The study was published in an open access journal PeerJ.
Reference: “Plio-Pleistocene crocodylian Pallimnarchus de Vis, 1886 revision by the prehistoric” swamp king “of Australia: Jorgo Ristevsky, Adam M. Yates, Gilbert J. Price, Ralph E. Molnar, Vera Weisbecker and Steven W.” Salisbury, December 21, 2020, PeerJ.
DOI: 10.7717 / peerj.10466