Some species of ancient crocodiles walked on their two hind legs like dinosaurs

Ancient crocodiles walked on two legs like dinosaurs.


A research team has been surprised to know that some ancient crocodiles walked on two legs like dinosaurs and measured over three meters in length.

Initially, scientists thought that the footprints must be of another ancient animal known as the pterosaurs. But now, they understand that these were bipedal crocodile prints.

The footprints measure around 24 centimeters, suggesting the track-makers had legs about the same height as human adult legs.

University of Queensland paleontologist Dr. Anthony Romilio said, “These were long animals that we estimate were over three meters in length. And while footprints were everywhere on the site, there were no handprints.”

Professor Kyung Soo Kim from the Chinju National University of Education said, “Typical crocodiles walk in a squat stance and create wide trackways. Oddly, our trackways are very narrow looking—more like a crocodile balancing on a tight-rope.”

“When combined with the lack of any tail-drag marks, it became clear that these creatures were moving bipedally.”

“They were moving in the same way as many dinosaurs, but dinosaurs did not make the footprints.”

“Dinosaurs and their bird descendants walk on their toes.”

Photograph of trackways made by ancient South Korean bipedal crocodile track-makers.
Photograph of trackways made by ancient South Korean bipedal crocodile track-makers. Credit: Dr Seul Mi Bae

“Crocodiles walk on the flat of their feet, leaving clear heel impressions as humans do.”

“Dr. Romilio said“Fossil crocodile tracks are quite rare in Asia, so finding an abundance of nearly one hundred footprints was extraordinary.

“As an animal walks, the hind feet have the potential of stepping into the impression made by the hand and ‘over-printing’ it, but we find no evidence of this at these Korean sites.”

“It isn’t due to poor preservation either, because these fossils are spectacular, they even have the fine details of the toe-pads and scales on their soles preserved.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Kyung Soo Kim et al., Trackway evidence for large bipedal crocodylomorphs from the Cretaceous of Korea. Scientific Reports, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-66008-7
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