Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Running elephants, far-flying mosquitos, ancient crocodiles and more…

(Joseph Berger / Bugwood.org)

Primordial Fear

Nile Crocodile Opening Mouth
(© Martin Harvey/CORBIS)
Paleontologists working in Tanzania discovered fossilized bones of a two-million-year-old horned crocodile. Early humans such as Homo habilis lived in the area then, and the 16-foot croc—related to modern Nile crocodiles—would have been the largest predator our ancestors encountered. In fact, the researchers also found fossilized hominid bones from the same site and era. The bones had crocodile bite marks in them. The University of Iowa-led team named the new species Crocodylus anthropophagus. Translation: man-eating crocodile.

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