According to a Peruvian research team that analyzed the jaw and skull remains of this species, the crocodile likely crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the coast of South America and eventually settled in what is now southern Peru.
Researcher Rodolfo Salas said his team had collected skeletal parts from these creatures over the past years, according to Reuters.
After finding jaw bones of a crocodile in the Sakaco Desert in Peru in the year 2020, the team understood how these animals evolved after living in salt water.
“The new species of crocodile that we are presenting to the world lived in Sakakostus 7 million years ago,” Salas said of the species, which he named Sakakosutus cordovay.
And Salas added, according to a study published last week in the British scientific journal “The Royal Society”, that the ancestors of this species reached 4 meters in length, according to Reuters.
Sakaku is a site where skeletons of prehistoric animals have been found, and southern Peru is a rich source of prehistoric remains.
Experts say that millions of years ago, the Sahara was the bottom of a deep sea inhabited by whales, giant sharks, crocodiles and other marine species.
“We found that all sea crocodiles were animals with long, thin faces and that their evolution was twofold,” Salas said. “One fed almost exclusively on fish and the other followed a more general diet.”
In March, a team of paleontologists led by Salas presented a 12-meter-long skull fossil of the so-called “sea monster,” a predator that lived 36 million years ago in an ancient ocean along the central coast of the Peruvian islands.