Skull of 100-Million-Year-Old Crocodile Unearthed
Paleontologists report the most important discovery to date
|Woodbine Formation sediments at the Arlington Achosaur Site; exposures seen at the dinosaur quarry.|
Paleontologists have made the most important discovery to date at the Arlington Archosaur Site, a prolific fossil site in North Arlington. The disassembled skull of a crocodile with two and a half inch long teeth that lived nearly 100 million years ago has been unearthed.
“We have over 50 bones exposed,” said The University of Texas at Arlington dinosaurs lecturer Derek Main, who heads the project. “They are truly impressive. The teeth measure 6.5 centimeters, larger than my thumb.”
To date, more dinosaur fossils have been recovered from the Arlington Archosaur Site, where excavation began little more than a year ago, than from any other site in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The site lies within Cretaceous rocks, formed 95 million years ago when Arlington was the beachhead for a giant sea that divided the continent.
UTA artist Clinton Crowley’s interpretation of the Arlington Archosaur Site, North Texas during the Cretaceous (95 Million yrs ago); Woodbinesuchus and Protohadros on a coastal plain.
The site has yielded fossils from various species of animals, including dinosaurs. A skeleton of a large herbivorous “duck billed” dinosaur was excavated from the northern hillside at the site. Crocodile fossils are among the most commonly found.
Main said the site is unique because it is a major dinosaur excavation in the middle of a large metropolitan setting and it preserves many fossils from different animals. The site also has fossils from turtles, lungfish, fish and sharks. The excavation of the Arlington Archosaur Site began in the spring of 2008 when the Huffines Group obtained the property and granted land access to UT Arlington.