A monstrous 5-foot-long croc ruled the waterways of southeastern Queensland in Australia millions of years ago.
Researchers at the University of Queensland have identified the reptilian giant – now called the “swamp king” – after studying its fossilized 25-inch (65 centimeters) skull, which was first discovered in the 1980s.
In Latin, the name of the genus Paludirex in translation it means “swamp king” and the name of the species vincenti was chosen in honor of the late Geoff Vincent, a resident of the city of Dalby in southeastern Queensland who discovered a giant skull near the city of Chinchilla in Queensland.
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The greatest modern crocodile is an Indo-Pacific saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), which can grow to approximately the same size. Their record size is actually even larger than 6 meters, set by Lolong who died in captivity in the Philippines in 2013, according to CNN.
“But Paludirex had a wider, heavier-set skull, so it would resemble an Indo-Pacific crocodile on steroids, “Jorgo Ristevski, PhD at the University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences, it is stated in the statement. According to researchers, this giant hunter could hunt oversized prehistoric marsupials and make him one of the main predators in Australia.
The swamp king probably appeared at about the same time as the modern crocs – in the last 55 million years. More research is now being conducted to determine how these massive crocs became extinct, while their slender cousins remained.
“Yes Paludirex vincenti has become extinct as a result of competition with species such as Crocodylus porosus it’s hard to say, ”Steve Salisbury, a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland and a fellow study author, said in a statement. “The alternative is that it became extinct as the climate dried up, and the river systems it once inhabited were shrinking,” he explained, adding, “we are currently exploring both scenarios.”
The findings were published December 21 in the journal PeerJ.
Originally posted on Live Science.