Before Dinosaurs, Carolina Butcher was Top Beast of Prey

March 20, 2015 2:27 PM

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A newly discovered crocodilian ancestor may have filled one of North America's top predator roles before dinosaurs arrived on the continent. Carnufex carolinensis, or the "Carolina Butcher," was a nine-foot-long, land-dwelling crocodylomorph that walked on its hind legs and likely preyed upon smaller inhabitants of North Carolina ecosystems, such as armored reptiles and early mammal relatives.

Paleontologists from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences recovered parts of Carnufex's skull, spine and upper forelimb from the Pekin Formation in Chatham County, NC. Because the skull of Carnufex was preserved in pieces, it was difficult to visualize wh...

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