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Beaky Crocs by Qilong Beaky Crocs by Qilong
Macelognathus vagans, a type of crocodylian known from the Late Jurassic of the Morrison Formation, was originally known from a partial mandible, with an edentulous symphyseal region and tooth sockets distal to it. Macelognathus presented an odd enigma for researchers for almost 100 years, with only vague suggestions of its crocodylian affinities, and some finer suggestions of what subgroup it would be.

Substantial new skeletal material from five new specimens, including elongate limb bones and new jaw material, indicating that Macelognathus was, in fact, likely to be a "sphenosuchian" (basal crocodylomorphan) croc.

Here is a comparison of the holotype partial cranial material and jaw, >30% larger than the new material. These indicate a very long-legged, and rather beaky, crocodylian.
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Paleo-King Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Very cool crocs. They are so long legged and look almost.... mammalian! With such an erect-looking stance and the speed that probably came with it, is it possible these animals could have been warm-blooded?

Just curious, how do we know the bigger specimen is the same genus or species as the smaller composite one? All the material they seem to have in common is a bit of upper eye socket. Are there other specimens besides the ones used as reference here?
Qilong Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2011
Wow ... I just noticed the mandible is missing from the referred composite (LACM 5572/150148), which is listed in the specimen composition! I was sure I had put that in the original....

Anyways, the referred material derives from a complex that includes not only a frontal that compares to the impressions associated with the holotype, but a symphyseally-edentulous partial pair of dentaries. Nothing else is quite like these jaws, which I should cover at some point!
dumdumstealr Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2010
Hmm, they are kinda creepy..but cool:)
Qilong Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2010
I can guarantee you there are more cool things about these guys than there were creepy :)
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011  Professional General Artist
Creepy=COOL! Of course, there are many other things that are cool too. These beaky crocs look like they could be bipedal. What are your thoughts on that?
Qilong Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011
Not really. The forelimbs are very, very different.
Algoroth Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011  Professional General Artist
Very different from what? I'm confused, which is nothing unusual.
dumdumstealr Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2010
of course!
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Submitted on
July 21, 2010
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