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Giant crocodile fossils discovered with juvenile dinosaur still in its stomach

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Posted at 1:17 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 16:17:25-05

Researchers in Australia have confirmed that a crocodile that lived 93 million years ago ate a juvenile dinosaur as its last meal.

Fossils of the crocodile Confractosuchus sauroktonos, which means "the broken crocodile dinosaur killer," were discovered in 2010 in Central Queensland by researchers from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, according to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

Researchers used neutron and synchrotron instruments to penetrate the rock to reveal and reconstruct the concealed fossilized contents.

Early studies of the fossils found that small bones were detected in the gut of the crocodile, so researchers sent it off to get scanned.

"In the initial scan in 2015, I spotted a buried bone in there that looked like a chicken bone with a hook on it and thought straight away that it was a dinosaur,” said Senior Instrument Scientist Dr. Joseph Bevitt in a news release.

In the study published in the journal Gondwana Research on Friday, researchers announced that the bones belonged to a partially-digested dinosaur, which may have weighed around 1kg to 1.7kg.

Both specimens are on display at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum.