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Surprise find about crocodile teeth




(News)

A vegetarian crocodile? It seems strange, but a new study suggests that some old crocodiles fed on plants at least three times over aeons instead of meat, New Scientist reports. The disclosure comes from a study by the University of Utah, as described in Current Biology. Exploring the fossilized teeth of 16 extinct species of crocodile forms, the researchers came to their "real surprise" to conclude that half of these species were vegetarians, as lead researcher Keegan Melstrom told The New York Times . Or as he puts it in National Geographic : "Some of these extinct crocodiles had really weird teeth." In particular, the teeth were smaller and more complex, in some cases with more than 20 separate surfaces ̵

1; the better to break down plants.

"This shows that this was a successful nutritional strategy," says Melstrom. "And I think that if we find more teeth in the future, we will probably find even more groups that became herbivores independently." It is not clear why crocodile ancestors went into and out of vegetarianism – the study suggests that they did this three or six times – but scientists say it was probably about what was happening to the climate at that time and what impact it had on potential food sources and sources competition. However, it seems that no vegetarian crocodiles have survived the mass extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago, and since then crocodiles have been carnivores. (Arby certainly agrees.)

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