Farmer Finds Perfect Jaw of Ancient Marine Creature

Kronosaurus swam in Australian waters more than 100M years ago
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2015 6:01 PM CDT
Farmer Finds Perfect Jaw of Ancient Marine Creature
The Kronosaurus looked something like this.   (Shutterstock)

An unexpected upside to a drought in Queensland, Australia: Researchers now have a better sense of what a fearsome sea creature of yore looked like. A cattle farmer stumbled across a fossil in his field that turned out to be the lower jaw of Kronosaurus Queenslandicus, which plied the local waters about 110 million years ago. And not just any jaw—the 5-foot-long specimen is the most intact ever found of the Kronosaurus, known to have reached a body length of 36 feet, ABC Online reports. Think "crocodile-like head, a body with four powerful flippers, jaws twice as powerful as those of a saltwater crocodile, and curved teeth the size of bananas," offers the Brisbane Times.

The fossil discovered by Robert Hacon, however, adds a new wrinkle. The jaw's front section "has these really amazing long grooves that would accommodate teeth overhanging from the upper jaw," says a local scientist and museum curator. "This hasn't really been well described before in any of the scientific literature, so that is really exciting." It would help explain how the creature captured and ate prey such as sharks, turtles, and giant squids. He's in the process of putting together a scientific paper on the new information. The jaw, meanwhile, has been donated by Hacon to the museum for public display. (A modern sea creature has just set the mark for longest migration by a mammal.)

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