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Surprise finds the teeth of a crocodile




(Newser)

Vegetarian crocodile? It seems odd, but a new study suggests that some ancient crocodiles have lived on plants instead of meat at least three times during the eons, New Scientist reports. Revelation comes in a Utah University study as described in Current Biology. Researchers have studied the fossil teeth of 16 extinct crocodile species and have come to "their real surprise" that half of these species are vegetarians, says senior researcher Keagan Melstrom . Or, as he tells National Geographic : "Some of these missing crocodiles had really strange teeth." In particular, teeth are smaller and more complex, in some cases with more than 20 separate surfaces ̵

1; better for plant degradation.
"This shows that this is a successful dietary strategy," says Melstrom. "And I think that as we find more teeth in the future, we will probably find even more groups that have become grazing." It is not clear why the crocodile forefathers have come in and out of vegetarianism – the research shows that they have done so three to six times – but scientists say it probably revolves around what is happening with the climate at that time and the impact on potential sources of food competition. It turns out, however, that none of the vegetarian crocodiles survived the mass extinction 66 million years ago, destroying the dinosaurs, and the crocodiles have since been predators. (Arbi certainly approves this.)

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