A 9-foot-tall beast with bladelike teeth once stalked the warm and wet environs of what is now North Carolina some 230 million years ago, before dinosaurs came onto the scene there, scientists have found.
Now called Carnufex carolinensis, the crocodile ancestor likely walked on its hind legs, preying on armored reptiles and early mammal relatives in its ecosystem, the researchers say.
They named it Carnufex, meaning "butcher" in Latin, because of its long skull, which resembles a knife, and its bladelike teeth, which it likely used to slice flesh off the bones of prey, said lead study author Lindsay Zanno, of NC State University and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. "'Butcher' seemed a very appropriate way to get that into the minds of people," Zanno told Live Science in an interview.
This is a part of the early Pseudosuchians, which are largely included in the archosaurs. The big forms, as with the large dinosaurs, did not survive the K-T extinction