A new extinct crocodile species has been found in Central Australia

Scientists in Outback Australia have discovered the skull of a new extinct crocodile species that’s over 25 million years old.

The crocodile is said to belong to the ‘Baru genus’ family, an extinct species that populated Australia millions of years ago.

The skull was discovered by scientists in the Northern Territory only yesterday, yet this unnamed species was alive and roaming across Australia around 25 million years ago.

Crocodile skull on the ground
Image via BBC

A skull discovered in 2009 at the Alcoota fossil bed in Alice Springs is said to bear the most similarity to this new species.

Senior Curator of Earth Sciences at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Dr Adam Yates, said:

“This particular specimen is one of the last of its kind. It is by far the nicest and most complete skull of a Baru crocodile that’s ever been found.

Because of its well-kept condition, it is now referred to as “the holotype” to identify the new species.

This type of crocodile had migrated to Australia tens of millions of years ago.  Dr Yates has stated they originally “belong to the genus Crocodylus, which probably has an origin in Africa.

While scientists are yet to explore the anatomy of this species in-depth, they have released some interesting initial findings.

The size of this species can be compared to today’s Australian saltwater crocodile. However, unlike modern crocodiles, whose diet consists of fish and smaller prey, this crocs large skull indicates that it “specialised in taking megafauna.” Yikes.

The new species name is said to be revealed in 2022.