Recent research has revealed new specimens of an odd, not very well known animal called the Teleocrater rhadinus. This species is a distant cousin of dinosaurs that is also related to crocodiles. Also, it has been confusing scientists with its strange appearance as it is believed to have boasted with crocodilian-like features, while still being more closely related to the dinosaur side of the family.
Research results on the recently discovered specimens were released in the Nature journal. The study was led by Sterling Nesbitt, part of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He stated that:
“Teleocrater fundamentally changes our ideas about the earliest history of dinosaur relatives.”
According to the research team, the teleocrater’s crocodile-like features are an “unexpected” surprise. The first remains of the species were discovered in the 1930s. However, the species started being more closely analyzed following the reveal of some new specimens in Tanzania.
The Teleocrater, An Early Type Of Dinosaur Was Reportedly Quite “Not Dinosaur-Like”
Based on the discovered remains, research managed to determine the species’ most probable appearance. This latter is also the cause of the general confusion surrounding it.
Teleocraters are believed to have resembled the modern-day monitor lizards. They were probably in between 6 to 10 feet long, measured from their head to their tail. Also, they were about 2 feet high at their hip.
The fact that they had jaw muscles at the back of their skulls shows that they belonged to the dinosaur group. More exactly, they are archosaur descendants. However, the teleocrater also had ankle joints, a feature closer related and more common to crocodiles.
Although reluctantly, science could allegedly name this the “missing link” in the dinosaur evolution. A closer analysis of this species could help offer further details on the archosaurs split. Believed to have taken place some 250 million years ago, this latter eventually gave birth to two main groups.
One of them includes dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and eventually birds. The other led to the appearance of crocodiles and alligators.
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