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The 93-million-year-old “killer” crocodile was found with a dinosaur cub in its stomach

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Nuclear methods confirm the rare finding that a crocodile ate a baby dinosaur. Credit: Dr. Matt White / Australian Dinosaur Age

  • Advanced nuclear and synchrotron imaging has confirmed that a 93-million-strong crocodile found in Central Queensland ate a juvenile dinosaur based on remains found in fossilized stomach contents.
  • The discovery of the fossils was made by a team from the Australian Dinosaur Museum and the University of New England, which conducted an investigation with ANSTO scientists.
  • Neutron and synchrotron instruments have penetrated the rock to detect and recover hidden fossils

Advanced nuclear and synchrotron imaging has confirmed that a 93-million-strong crocodile found in Central Queensland ate a juvenile dinosaur based on remains found in fossilized stomach contents.

The discovery of the fossils in 2010 was made by the Australian Dinosaur Museum (QLD) in collaboration with the University of New England, which publishes its research in the journal Godwana Research.

The study was conducted by a large team led by Dr. Matt White of the Australian Dinosaur Museum and the University of New England.

Crocodile Confractouchus sauroktonos, which translates as “killer of a broken dinosaur crocodile”, about 2 to 2.5 meters long. “Broken” refers to the fact that the crocodile was found in a massive destroyed boulder.

Early scanning of neutron images of one fragment of a boulder rock revealed in the intestines the bones of a small juvenile dinosaur the size of a chicken, an ornithopod that has not yet been officially identified by species.

Joseph Bevitt and Matt White

Dr. Joseph Bevit and Dr. Matt White with a sample on the line of imaging and medicine at the Australian ANSTO synchrotron. Credit: Australian Organization for Nuclear Science and Technology (ANSTO)

Senior instrument scientist Dr. Joseph Bevit explained that dinosaur bones were completely embedded in dense iron rock and were accidentally discovered when the sample was exposed to neutron penetrating power at ANSTO.

DingoAustralia’s only neutron imaging device can be used to produce two- and three-dimensional images of a solid object and detect hidden features in it.

“During the initial scan in 2015, I noticed a bone buried there that looked like a chicken bone with a hook, and immediately thought it was a dinosaur,” Dr. Bevitt explained.

“Human eyes have never seen him before, for he was and remains completely hidden in the rock.”

The discovery led to further high-resolution scans using dingo and synchrotron x-ray Line visualization and medical broadcast for a number of years.

Petrified crocodile dingo neutron imaging tool

Unprepared samples of rocks containing a fossilized crocodile. Right: 3D images of a crocodile in an aviary, reconstructed using imaging and a medical arc line, and inserted stomach contents detected using a Dingo neutron imaging device. Credit: Australian Organization for Nuclear Science and Technology (ANSTO)

“3D digital scans with Beamline imaging and medicine controlled the crocodile’s physical training, which was impossible without knowing exactly where the bones were,” said Dr. Bevit.

Conversely, fragile samples had to be carefully reduced to a size through which synchrotron X-rays could penetrate for high-quality scanning.

“The results were remarkable in that they give a complete picture of the crocodile and its last meal, partially digested by the young dinosaur.”

It is believed that this is the first time that a synchrotron beam has been used in this way.

IMBL instrument scientist Dr. Anton Maksimenko helped the investigative team meet the power constraints and set up the setup to successfully scan large samples.

Dr. Bevit explained that the team used the full intensity of the synchrotron X-ray beam to achieve results on the dense rock.

Together, Dr. Bevitt and White processed all data processing and, importantly, developed new software mechanisms to process and integrate all datasets of this fragmented crocodile. Thus, the crocodile was reconstructed as a digital 3D puzzle.

To confirm that the dinosaur was actually inside the crocodile’s entrails, the team observed filled worm tunnels, plant roots and geological features that stretched between the rock fragments.

“The chemistry of the breed has provided evidence,” Dr. Bevit said.

Investigators believe the crocodile was most likely caught up in a mega-flood, buried and died suddenly.

“Fossils have been found in a large boulder. Concretions are often formed when organic matter, or, say, a crocodile, sinks to the bottom of a river. Because the environment is rich in minerals, the dirt around the body can harden and harden in a few days due to the presence of bacteria, ”Dr. Bevitt explained.

The specimens are now on display at the Australian Dinosaur Museum, Winton.

Help: “Abdominal contents were found[{” attribute=””>Cretaceous crocodyliforms ate dinosaurs” by Matt A. White, Phil R. Bell, Nicolás E. Campione, Gabriele Sansalone, Tom Brougham, Joseph J.Bevitt, Ralph E. Molnar, Alex G. Cook, Stephen Wroe and David A. Elliott, 10 February 2022, Godwana Research.
DOI: 10.1016/j.gr.2022.01.016



https://scitechdaily.com/93-million-year-old-killer-crocodile-discovered-with-a-baby-dinosaur-in-its-stomach/ The 93-million-year-old “killer” crocodile was found with a dinosaur cub in its stomach

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