Fine Cretaceous Crocodile Claw

Crocodilia indet

Class Reptilia, Subclass Diapsida, Order Crocodilia

Geological Time: Maastrichtian, Upper Cretaceous (~67 million years ago)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fossil is 23 mm by 9 mm

Fossil Site: Hell Creek Formation, Harding County, Montana

Code: HCF23

Price: $95.00

Cretaceous Crocodile ClawDescription: This is a fine claw from a crocodile. Since Leidysuchus is the most common crocodile found in the Hell Creek Formation, it is possible that this one belongs to a member of that genus. There were, however, several others so I will not make the rash assignment to Leidysuchus. Leidysuchuis was named after Joseph Leidy, describer of the first nearly-complete dinosaur ever recovered. He was a contemporary of E.D. Cope and O. C. Marsh, adversaries in the infamous “bone wars” of the American West. In the race to be the first to describe a specimen, the three often gave different names to the same dinosaur. The contest between Cope and Marsh became so acrimonious that Leidy left the field. The resulting plate of taxonomic spaghetti is still being unraveled today. This fine claw would make an excellent addition to any collection of Hell Creek fossils.

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