900 lb Ancient Crocodile Discovered, Should Be Subject of Next Syfy Movie
Scientists have officially named a newly-discovered dyrosaur... after a character in "Lord of the Rings." No, seriously.
The crocodilian, which was 16 feet long, 900 lbs, and strong enough in the jaw to bite through turtles, is now called Anthracosuchus balrogus. It was named after the Balrog, a fiery creature introduced in "Lord of the Rings."
"Much like that giant beast, Anthracosuchus balrogus was [awakened] from deep within a mine after 60 million years trapped within the rocks of tropical South America," said study researcher Jonathan Bloch.
The recovered specimen next to a modern alligator skull:
Credit: Alex Hastings
The specimens of the new species were found in a layer of rock in Colombia that also housed fossilized remains of turtles with shells as thick as textbooks, as well as the aptly-named Titanoboa, the world's largest snake at 48 feet long. The researchers postulate that this crocodilian used the turtles as a food source and battled the rival monster snakes. These creatures arose in South Africa and then traveled by sea to South America, where they survived the dinosaurs' mass extinction.
Alex Hastings, a postdoctoral researcher at Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, claimed that these creatures could help us understand how certain animals survive mass extinctions and other catastrophes. "As we face climates that are warmer today, it is important to understand how animals responded in the past. This family of crocodyliforms in Cerrejón adapted and did very well despite incredible obstacles, which could speak to the ability of living crocodiles to adapt and overcome."
Sounds like a character from a Syfy movie, don't you think? Although they might have a hard time finding a name for this one. They've already taken "Croc," "Dinocroc," and "Dinocroc versus Supergator" and another studio has already made a movie called "Crocosaurus versus Megashark." So maybe "Ogrecroc versus Behemothsnake?" Then the sequel can be called "Ogrecroc versus Behemothsnake 2: Genetically Engineered to Be Even Bigger." And the final chapter of the trilogy could follow the product of a love affair between the two monsters, the more elegantly-named "Freaking Huge Reptile-Thing."