Spectacular Miocene Fossil Crocodylian Skin

Cocodrylus sp (?)

Crocodilia, Crocodylidae

Geologic Time: Late Miocene, Messinian Stage (6 million years ago)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Individual scutes are 15 mm – 35 mm across on a 300 mm by 190 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Malta, Central Mediterranean

Fossil Code: LC03

Price: $695.00


Fossil CrocodylianDescription: This is an extensive example of fossilized skin from a crocodylian, possibly an undescribed species of Cocodrylus, from the Messinian Stage deposits of Malta. The left side of the plate shows the exterior surface of the polygonal scutes (plates) that that made up the bony armor of the reptile, while many in the central section have been exposed longitudinally to allow a view of the cancellous (spongy) bone within. Finally, lower down in the matrix on the right the interior of the skin beneath the scutes can be seen. The Messinian Stage is the time when the Mediterranean Sea suffered what is known as the Messsinian Event, a catastrophic drying up of the entire basin as a consequence of the closing down of what is now the Straits of Gibraltar some 6 million years ago. Evidence for this event is found in deep gorges at the Nile and Rhone River inlets to the sea, as well as extensive evaporative deposits in excess of a kilometer in depth over much of the seafloor. The straits opened again some 5.5 million years ago, affording the sea as we know it today. The Mediterranean is still more highly saline than the Atlantic, a consequence of its pan-like shape and extensive evaporation.

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