Why scientists are excited about this early dino cousin with croc-like features.
(CNN)Everyone knows that ancient monsters walk among us — alligators, crocodiles and birds all have characteristics that date back millions and millions of years. But a newly indentified dino cousin may shake up the prehistoric family tree.
The findings were published this week in Nature, an international scientific journal, and they concern the Teleocrater, the earliest-known dinosaur relative.
The Teleocrater was a six-foot-long lizard-like creature that kind of looked like a crocodile. That seems pretty run-of-the-mill, but the Teleocrater is special because it was around before dinosaurs even properly existed, which means it may change the way paleontologists think about how dinosaurs evolved.
Follow us here: Dinosaurs actually belonged to a larger group called archosaurs, which also includes birds, flying reptiles and crocodilians. Paleontologists believe that archosaurs split into two groups and then rapidly evolved: One group became>>
CREDIT:AJ Willingham, CNN