The authors mention that this area is known for its “peculiar” collection of fossils representing everything from large marine reptiles called plesiosaurs to towering plant-eating dinosaurs known as sauropods.
“Madagascar was already separating from Africa, but was still connected to India, Australia and Antarctica,” Maganuco said.
Now an island nation, Madagascar remains known for its unique plant and animal life, often found nowhere else on Earth. Rare lemurs, for example, are native to Madagascar, which is also home to exotic orchids. Even crocodiles still thrive in Madagascar, with one infamous population of Nile crocodiles dwelling in caves.
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Razana is long gone, but it holds a noteworthy place on the crocodile family tree. The scientists believe Razana was the largest and oldest “notosuchian,” predating other known forms of these animals by 42 million years. The term refers to certain early crocodilians and their extinct relatives. Previously, notosuchians were thought to appear in the Cretaceous, but Razana extends their dominance to the Jurassic.
While today’s crocodilians somewhat resemble Razana, much has changed due to evolution over millions of years.
“Modern crocs are well adapted to a semiaquatic lifestyle,” Maganuco said. “Their flattened skull with raised eyes is made for hunting in water.”