By M.P.Pellicer | Eerie.News
This 19-foot crocodile-like reptile roamed China about 1000 B.C. Remains have been found ritualistically beheaded and scientists believe this new species was driven to extinction by being over-hunted.
The fossil remains of two creatures were killed between 1400 to 1000 B.C. during southern China's Bronze Age.
Chinese researchers first discovered the fossils in the 1960s and 1970s. Still, it was misidentified as a living species and was ignored.
Closer study of the skulls and other bones identified it as a gharial, an animal closely related to crocodiles and alligators but which have a thinner snout.
There are only two species of gharials, which are found in Malaysia, Indonesia, India and surrounding countries.
It's been named Hanyusuchus sinensis for Han Yu, a 9th century poet and government official that lived during the Tang dynasty.
As humans migrated to southern China, the reptiles were hunted into extinction. However despite being targeted by hunters, this reptile was a top predator which attacked humans and livestock.
Researchers led by the University of Tokyo found that there was evidence of beheading and attacks on the crocodile. The wounds corresponded to the weapons in use at that period.
According to the Royal Society Publishing:
Lastly, a cutmark analysis combined with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating of bone remains demonstrated that two individuals from Shang and Zhou dynasties in Guangdong, China, suffered head injuries and decapitation. Archaeological evidence together with historical accounts suggests the human-induced extinction of this unique crocodylian only a few hundred years ago.
These bones, found at sites in many areas of China, were thought to belong to the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis), which only lived in the lower Yangtze River area in east central China. These crocodilians had longer and thinner skulls than modern day crocodiles and blunt-nosed alligators.
Some Chinese characters and maybe even myths about dragons might have been influenced by this incredible reptile. It would be the only reptile in ancient China that feasted on humans.
In 2016, the remains of the largest sea-dwelling crocodile was discovered. It grew to over 30 feet and weighed three tons. The new species was named Machimosaurus rex. These reptiles that existed during the Cretaceous period, spent their lives in the ocean.
This species like Aegisuchus witmeri, predated humans, unlike Hanyusuchus sinensis.
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