More than five meters long, a prehistoric crocodile, also known as the “king of the swamps,” lived in the waterways of southeastern Queensland, Australia, just a few million years ago. Researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) have identified a new prehistoric crocodile species, Paludirex vincenti, from fossils first discovered in the 1980s.
Yorgo Ristevski of the UQ School of Biological Sciences said the new species, Paludirex vincenti, is named after Jeff Vincent, who discovered a giant fossilized skull near the town Chinchilla.
“In Latin, Paludirex means King of the Swamps, and Vincenti honors the late Mr. Vincent,” he explains. “The King of the Swamps was a terrifying crocodile. Its fossilized skull is about 65 centimeters long. According to our estimates, Paludirex vincenti was at least five meters. The largest crocodile today is the Indo-Pacific crocodile Crocodylus porosus, which grows to about the same size. But Paludirex had a wider and more massive skull, so he resembled an Indo-Pacific crocodile ‘on steroids.’
For several years, the skull fossil was exhibited at the Queensland Museum and then donated to the Chinchilla Museum in 2011.
The Paludirex was one of Australia’s top predators several million years ago, capable of hunting giant prehistoric marsupials.
“This would make the Darling Downs waterways a perilous place once,” Ristevski explains.