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Baby dinosaur found inside 93 million-year-old crocodile fossil

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A team of researchers from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum (AADM) and University of New England (UNE) have found a partially digested juvenile dinosaur from the stomach of a 93 million-year-old fossilized crocodile.

Advanced imaging has confirmed that a 93-million-year-old crocodile found in Central Queensland America ate a juvenile dinosaur based on the remains found in its fossilized stomach.  

The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum had discovered the fossils back in 2010. A large team led by Dr Matt White of the AADM and UNE carried out the research. The team has published their research in the journal Godwana Research.

3D images of the encased crocodile were reconstructed with the Imaging and Medical Beamline, and inset, the stomach contents were revealed using the Dingo neutron imaging instrument. Credit: Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO)

The early scans of the fossils detected bones of a small chicken-sized juvenile dinosaur in the crocodile’s stomach. 

Senior Instrument scientist Dr Joseph Bevitt said that in 2015 he spotted a buried bone that looked like a chicken bone with a hook on it and thought straight away that it was a dinosaur.

“Human eyes had never seen it previously, as it was, and still is, totally encased in rock,” he said.

According to the researchers, the crocodile Confractosuchus sauroktonos (the broken crocodile dinosaur killer) was about 2 to 2.5 meters long. The word ‘Broken’ in its name refers to the fact that the crocodile was found in a shattered boulder.

The complete imaging of the crocodile’s stomach was done with the help of 3D digital scanning and medical beamlines, said Dr, Bevitt. The results provided a picture of the crocodile’s last meal, which was a partially digested juvenile dinosaur, he added. 

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