- The largest known true crocodile, measuring over 27 feet in length, lived 2-4 million years ago.
- The crocodile was at the top of the food chain and would have preyed upon our human ancestors.
- Remains of early australopithecines and other hominids were found near the crocodile.
The largest known crocodile was big enough to swallow a human being and likely terrorized our ancestors two to four million years ago.
Remains of the enormous horned croc, named Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni, were unearthed in East Africa. The impressive aquatic reptile exceeded 27 feet long and is described in the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The croc was the dominant predator of its ecosystem, so there is little doubt that it preyed upon our distant ancestors, especially since remains of Australopithecus (a now-extinct genus of hominids) were found nearby.
These relatively tiny individuals would have had no choice but to enter the crocodile's territory for much needed water.
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"Humans might have eaten food along a lakeside or riverbank, but more importantly, they would have needed water to drink," lead author Christopher Brochu told Discovery News. "This would have brought them right to where the crocodiles might have been living."