Dig team IDs fossils of dinosaur-eating crocodile found in Arlington

ARLINGTON – Meet Deltasuchus Motherali, DFW’s top predator waaay back in the day. The prehistoric crocodile roamed North Texas 95-100 million years ago and ate everything from turtles to dinosaurs.

The newly-named species was uncovered back in 2009 at the Arlington Archosaur Site. The group announced via Facebook this month the species would be named after Austin Motheral, the then 15-year-old volunteer who uncovered the fossilized remains.

Scientists say Deltasuchus motherali grew to be about 20 feet long and ruled the North Texas ecosystem. The shape of its head, along with bite marks found on fossilized bones of prey, tell researchers the crocodile ate pretty much whatever it wanted in the lush habitat populated by dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, amphibians, mammals, fish invertebrates, and plants.

A team of paleontologists and geologists from San Antonio’s Witte Museum, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and University of Wisconsin-Parkside worked with volunteers to dig up the remains, which come from the Cretaceous period, the last age of the dinosaur before mass extinction.  And, they say this may prove to be the first of several discoveries of new species at the site.

The Deltasuchus motherali bones are part of the collections at Dallas’ Perot Museum of Nature and Science, not too far from its original home.

Findings from the discovery were published in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.