Scientists are describing a massive crocodile unearthed in Tunisia as "a neat new discovery," which is so very obviously a (very) early contender for most egregious understatement of 2016. Remains of the "biggest sea-dwelling crocodile ever" were unearthed in the Tunisian desert earlier this week, National Geographic reports. "Machimosaurus rex had stocky, relatively short and rounded teeth," the University of Bologna's Federico Fanti says of the gigantic croc. Acccording to Fanti, this croc likely had "a massive skull capable of a remarkable bite force," which definitely seems to fit the general crocodile vibe.
The Machimosaurus rex could have grown as long as 30 feet and as hefty as three tons, meaning this sea dweller was probably built like a bus. "It would likely have been something of an ambush predator, hanging around in shallow water hunting turtles and fishes and maybe waiting for some land animals to come a little too close to the shore," surmises Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist not directly involved with the recovery. The fossils, including a fragmented skull, were reportedly discovered inside a rock that's 120 million years young.
The finding provides scientists with another window into the mass extinction event that most agree occurred at the end of the Jurassic period. "In our interpretation, the end-Jurassic event was global in its effects," Fanti states, "but was most likely a complex sequence of local biological crises that are still poorly documented."
No word yet on whether or not the Machimosaurus rex will make an underwhelming cameo in the forthcoming Jurassic World sequel.