A brand new species of huge prehistoric croc that roamed south-east Queensland’s waterways thousands and thousands of years in the past has been documented by College of Queensland researchers.
PhD candidate Jorgo Ristevski, from UQ’s Faculty of Organic Sciences, led the staff that named the species Gunggamarandu maunala after analysing a partial cranium unearthed within the Darling Downs within the nineteenth century.
“This is without doubt one of the largest crocs to have ever inhabited Australia,” Mr Ristevski stated.
“In the mean time it’s troublesome to estimate the precise total measurement of Gunggamarandu since all we have now is the again of the cranium – nevertheless it was huge.
“We estimate the cranium would have been not less than 80 centimetres lengthy, and based mostly on comparisons with residing crocs, this means a complete physique size of round seven metres.
“This implies Gunggamarandu maunala was on par with the most important Indo-Pacific crocs – a Crocodylus porosus) – recorded.
“We additionally had the cranium CT-scanned, and from that we have been in a position to digitally reconstruct the mind cavity, which helped us unravel extra particulars about its anatomy.
“The precise age of the fossil is unsure, nevertheless it’s in all probability between two and 5 million years previous.”
Gunggamarandu belonged to a bunch of crocodylians known as tomistomines or ‘false gharials’.
“Immediately, there’s just one residing species of tomistomine, Tomistoma schlegelii, which is restricted to the Malay Peninsula and components of Indonesia,” Mr Ristevski stated.
“Except for Antarctica, Australia was the one different continent with out fossil proof of tomistomines.
“However with the invention of Gunggamarandu we will add Australia to the ‘as soon as inhabited by tomistomines’ checklist.”
Regardless of its discovery, the fossil cranium of Gunggamarandu maunala remained a scientific thriller for greater than a century.
The specimen piqued the curiosity of then-young graduate scholar Dr Steve Salisbury within the Nineteen Nineties, however a proper research was not accomplished till Mr Ristevski started his examination.
“I knew it was uncommon, and doubtlessly very vital, however I didn’t have the time to check it in any element,” Dr Salisbury stated.
“The title of the brand new species honours the First Nations peoples of the Darling Downs space, incorporating phrases from the languages of the Barunggam and Waka Waka nations.
“The genus title, Gunggamarandu, means ‘river boss’, whereas the species title, maunala, means ‘gap head’.
“The latter is in reference to the massive, hole-like openings situated on high of the animal’s cranium that served as a spot for muscle attachment.”
Header Picture Credit score : Eleanor Pease