APR 13, 2017 06:03 AM PDT

Ancestors to Early Dinosaurs Walked Like Crocodiles

Fossils discovered in Southern Tanzania back in 1933 told a story of an animal that walked the Earth before the dinosaurs did; circa 245 million years ago. Weighing in at about the size of your average dog, this creature would have looked akin to a slim and large komodo dragon.

Meet Teleocrater, the early ancestor of the dinosaurs.

Image Credit: Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales

Dubbed Teleocrater, the creature was long misunderstood because bits and pieces of the fossils discovered so long ago were incomplete, but thanks to another discovery in 2015, scientists were able to get more of the data that they were missing from the original uncovering that answered a lot of questions about their checkered past.

The findings, which appear in the journal Nature, suggest that Teleocrater walked very similarly to way a crocodile does today. Scientists came to this conclusion by studying ankle remnants that weren’t present in the initial 1933 discovery, but were present in the new 2015 discovery.

Teleocrater fundamentally challenges our models of what the close relatives of dinosaurs would have looked like,” paper author Richard Butler explained in a statement.

“Dinosaurs were amazingly successful animals. It's natural to want to know where they came from, and how they became so dominant. Teleocrater is hugely exciting because it blows holes in many of our classic ideas of dinosaur origins.”

Teleocrater was a creature that eventually led to the evolution of the dinosaurs, but it’s worth noting that they’re not directly related to one another. This is a pretty difficult concept to wrap one’s mind around, but because we have so little evidence of what existed around these times, all we can do is speculate at this point in time.

On the other hand, we do know that their existence would eventually branch off into two directions; the crocodiles and the dinosaurs – the former, which is more of a reptilian creature, and the latter, which is more of an avian-styled creature as recent studies have indicated.

The research teams intend to return to the site of the discovered remnants so they can find more fossils that can help tell more of the story. Perhaps they’ll even be able to find a missing link between Teleocrater and the dinosaurs.

Source: BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 24, 2018
Earth & The Environment
AUG 24, 2018
Zookeeper tricks panda mama into caring for her twins
  These baby pandas are only 18 days old and the fact that they're both alive right now is likely only due to the ingenuity and dedication of this...
AUG 24, 2018
Earth & The Environment
AUG 24, 2018
What's the deal with Florida's red tide?
Have you ever seen a red tide? If you live in Florida near the coast, it’s unlikely that you’ve been able to avoid them. But do you really unde...
SEP 03, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 03, 2018
Two Newly-Discovered Dinosaurs May Explain a 70 Million-Year Evolutionary Gap
Dinosaur evolution is a hot topic in the scientific community because it can help us understand how and why modern animals came to be. Unfortunately, it&rs...
OCT 03, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 03, 2018
These Weird Fish Live in Some of the Deepest Parts of the Ocean
While animal researchers are reasonably well-rounded about the types of species residing at mild depths, we still have a lot to learn about what inhabits t...
OCT 09, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 09, 2018
Study Suggests Courteous Chimps Live Longer Lives
There are two kinds of chimpanzees in this world: 1) those that act aggressive toward others to assert their dominance over the rest of the troop, and 2) t...
NOV 13, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 13, 2018
Conservation Efforts Are Helping Amazon Turtle Populations Bounce Back
It’s not too often that conservationists get the chance to share a successful conservation story, but as it would seem, nearly 40 years’ worth...
Loading Comments...