Friday, February 26, 2010

Food For the Snake

A distant relative of the modern crocodile has been found in the Cerrejon formation in Columbia, dating it to around 60 million years old. The importance for the find lies in that it was probably preyed upon by Titanoboa. The story notes:
While Cerrejonisuchus is not directly related to modern crocodiles, it played an important role in the early evolution of South American rainforest ecosystems, said Jonathan Bloch, a Florida Museum vertebrate paleontologist and associate curator.

"Clearly this new fossil would have been part of the food-chain, both as predator and prey," said Bloch, who co-led the fossil-hunting expeditions to Cerrejon with Smithsonian paleobotanist Carlos Jaramillo. "Giant snakes today are known to eat crocodylians, and it is not much of a reach to say Cerrejonisuchus would have been a frequent meal for Titanoboa. Fossils of the two are often found side-by-side."

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