Scientists Discover New Species of Ancient Alligator

Chinese Alligator

Pictured above is a Chinese alligator, closely related to the newly discovered Alligator munensis from Thailand. This groundbreaking research unveils unique skull characteristics and offers a deeper dive into the evolutionary lineage of Asian alligators.

A study recently published in Scientific Reports details the discovery of a previously unidentified ancient alligator species found in Thailand, which shares close evolutionary ties with the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis).

Researchers Gustavo Darlim, Márton Rabi, Kantapon Suraprasit, Pannipa Tian, and their team identified the new species by examining a nearly complete fossilized skull — which they date to younger than 230,000 years old — from Ban Si Liam, Thailand. They have named the species Alligator munensis in reference to the nearby Mun River.

The authors examined the remains and investigated the evolutionary relationships between A. munensis and other species by comparing it’s remains with those of 19 specimens from four extinct alligator species, as well as the living American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), Chinese alligator and spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) species. They also reviewed previously published research on the skeletal characteristics of, and evolutionary relationships between, alligator species.

The authors identified several skull features that are unique to A. munensis, including a broad and short snout, a tall skull, reduced number of tooth sockets and nostrils that are positioned far from the tip of the snout. In addition, they note similarities between the skulls of A. munensis and the Chinese alligator, such as the presence of a small opening in the roof the mouth, a ridge on the top of the skull, and a raised ridge behind the nostrils.

They propose that the two species are closely related and may have shared a common ancestor in the lowlands of the Yangtze-Xi and Mekong-Chao Phraya river systems. They speculate that increases in the elevation of the southeastern Tibetan Plateau between 23 and five million years ago may have led to the separation of different populations and evolution of two separate species.

The authors observed that A. munensis has large tooth sockets towards the back of its mouth, which indicates that it may have possessed large teeth that could have been capable of crushing shells. As a result of this, they suggest that A. munensis may have eaten hard-shelled prey, such as snails, in addition to other animals.

The findings provide further insight into the evolution of Asian alligators.

Reference: “An extinct deep-snouted Alligator species from the Quaternary of Thailand and comments on the evolution of crushing dentition in alligatorids” by Gustavo Darlim, Kantapon Suraprasit, Yaowalak Chaimanee, Pannipa Tian, Chotima Yamee, Mana Rugbumrung, Adulwit Kaweera and Márton Rabi, 13 July 2023, Scientific Reports.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-36559-6

18 Comments on "Scientists Discover New Species of Ancient Alligator"

  1. This is a great find but headline did not show that .they said nothing about spinosauridae this mesoeucrocodylia has whale nose as I said this has nothing to do aquaticness in spinosauridae the biteforce in spinosauridae is weak they do not have back up like modern crocodilian that why they have strange skull .spinosauridae and this new gator have whale nose .spinosaurus clearly design better land hunter than most modern crocodilian they have fuse nasal

  2. This new gator will help show the lifestyle of spinosauridae I was hope to see this animal and it show up

  3. This new gator clearly is not semi aquatic clearly it’s a land crocodilian it’s eyes are not on top of skull like most tetanuran dinosaur predator allso baryonyx and early land gator type mesoeucrocodylia allso is like that .it lack tooth count like spinosaurus clearly more to land and tall skull like mammal and predator tetanuran dinosaur

  4. I did not read all of it the link I do that other day but what I read is very good it was same thing I was looking at but this is very detail now I know I will talk about it.this new gator has fenestra in the mouth they say eusuchian does not have this kind fenestra hole in mouth this is kind of primitive thing found in protosuchus the fruitichampsa mesoeucrocodylia I do not know the name some fruit mesoeucrocodylia it was found in them now Chinese gator and American gator the top dinosaur

  5. They claim these fruitichampsa are not mesoeucrocodylia but are protosuchus because of fenestra and strange palate because they were eating plant this happen in other animal but clearly these are mesoeucrocodylia fuse frontal unique cranial passage the same thing happen with macelognathus type won were jevnile and adult that was same species I know because death roll system is same as early mesoeucrocodylia that how know macelognathus is a mesoeucrocodylia the macelognathus type has diget grade like dinosaur this is strange for mesoeucrocodylia who do not walk on toes like human

  6. This information is hard to find on internet now. the article was very detail allso about modern crocodilian ankle uniqueness how it’s different from pseudosuchus all thou it look the same it’s convergent evolution they allso say pseudosuchus allso are different all pseudosuchus has unique ankle .

  7. I wanted read again mite be something I over look I was only look at macelognathus hollow femur and mostly ankle imformation mite be something about pneumatic fenestra there the bird breathing fake airsac .the strange thing about the new gator all modern crocodilian eye socket in the skull is very weak it’s circle most advance tetanuran dinosaur the eyes are getting smaller and are not circle which show they have more biteforce compsognathus eye is simular to modern crocodilian it’s early tetanuran and tyrannosaur like the gator

  8. The fruitichampsa won of them is not early mesoeucrocodylia in fact it was a eusuchian most of them are early mesoeucrocodylia some are debateble early mesoeucrocodylia because choana is on pterygoid but some are on palatine and allso has hollow vertebrae a eusuchian feature macelognathus allso has hollow bone beyond the skull clearly they are not eusuchian .the won with hollow vertebrae I call eusuchian that enough for me and choana on the pterygoid it sound dinosaur like .like eoraptor herrerasaurus some say these are not dinosaur because they are primitive like palate teeth tuatara teeth mix with thecodont teeth and 2 sacral

  9. Most scientist change that these are mesoeucrocodylia I read many of changes I saw some trying change it back to early thecodont or protosuchus dinosaur i sopose without any evidence this happen all time in science they will never win .clearly these are mesoeucrocodylia and some are early line of eusuchian cliaming these fenestra are not found in modern crocodilian but it’s found in American gator and Chinese gator how can they miss that usa gator is use most of the test because it’s not endanger species

  10. In 3 toe claw modern crocodilian there is not much nose movement that why this new gator so interesting in early land mesoeucrocodylia the nose is like dinosaur and mammal forward and point forward not up to sky like flat skull modern gator from the usa which show there is a weakness in the snout were the nose is .and a semi aquatic mesoeucrocodylia has a nose movement but it was forward it was early mesoeucrocodylia .in dwarf caiman and probaly dwarf crocodile too i keep mix them up there nose is turn up by the skull more like a mountain so nose go forward like t.rex but the nose is more like rest of semi modern crocodilian it’s not a true land skull nose .

  11. They say teeth are crushing teeth for new gator and lost in modern gator allso say that different between gator crocodile that gator has more crushing teeth probaly different teeth .spinosaurus baryonyx has less crushing teeth than modern crocodilian the crushing teeth is invented in eusuchian in time t.rex unique skull muscle starte showing up in eusuchian .the back teeth in modern crocodilian is crushing teeth .spinosaurus and baryonyx and early gator type mesoeucrocodylia the back teeth lack crushing teeth it not heterodont it’s the same size the crushing teeth are at the front it’s a major evolution so skull has to change

  12. Spinosaurus teeth are very simular to nile crocodile only back teeth is different clearly this is not design only to kill fish clearly Nile crocodile kill land animal in water and land these teeth are heterodont and they cliaming only dinosaur have heterodont teeth they are no different between dinosaur and modern crocodilian the different only when scientist hide thing .baryonyx teeth is not like spinosaurus its more like most tetanuran predator .spinosaurus teeth is more like the gator and t.rex with space teeth it’s a unique predator feature baryonyx is less serrated and gator shape. t.rex is less serrated too.spinosaurus is less curve there is no serration in spinosaurus like the gator. the crocodile there is serration that is left over from baryonyx .spinosaurus is less curve too more like of crocodilian .the teeth of modern crocodilian is of extreme heterodont kind but it is not as extreme like Early mesoeucrocodylia .these early mesoeucrocodylia some eat plants some even lack Cingulum teeth .in a sense baryonyx spinosaurus teeth are very simular to modern crocodilian less need of curve teeth and serration they are more focus on death roll system the greatest dinosaur technology ever.

  13. Modern crocodilian they are more than two type of teeth which make it extreme teeth. Horn of Chinese gator that is more simular to tetanuran dinosaur and ceratosaurus carnotaurus it’s more of them only thought these horn move back of skull months ago these horns place like tetanuran I saw that on YouTube just months ago on spectacled caiman they have horns on the eye too it’s 4 horn now the ridge horn I use scitech daily photo for the horn .allosaurus is famous for having these horn in modern crocodilian Cuban crocodile and Siamese crocodile is for spinosaurus they can not have these horn because they eyes are on top of skull but it is found in baryonyx this happen because it’s early time of evolution in spectacled caiman is in later time of evolution

  14. In dwarf crocodile and spectacled caiman they have lynx horn but true skull horn eye is on spectacled caiman because of flat skull this is won found in dinosaur they have 4 horn .this new gator nose hole is small the skull is getting strong I wonder if they can not smell very well like spinosaurus but nose way bigger than spinosaurus so brain test is very important

  15. Chinese gator has dinosaur ridge the allosaurus horn 4 horn the spectacled caiman 6 horn modern crocodilian have 2 fake horns because it’s not on eye it’s more close to ears.the new gator show weakness of mesoeucrocodylia snout were the nose is that why they have those bizarre evolution in mesoeucrocodylia like spinosaurus .spinosaurus Skull is weaker than modern crocodilian that why they have whale nose for the biteforce not for aquaticness modern crocodilian fix all problem in the skull from spinosauridae because they are modern dinosaur

  16. Retracting nose the spinosauridae nose is found in top dinosaur the 3 toe claw modern crocodilian it’s in fossil mesoeucrocodylia like giant caiman a modern type it allso in today modern crocodilian the mugger crocodile so spinosauridae the first mesoeucrocodylia is just like the gator after all and dinosaur too .shartegosuchoid mesoeucrocodylia has protosuchus type fenestra fossa foramen on palate and fruitachampsa which is a shartegosuchoid they say modern crocodilian does not have incisive fenestra but it is found in Chinese gator USA gator .the diagnosed of alligator the nose nare are fuse but the crocodile dwarf crocodile allso is fuse so the diagnose of alligator is protosuchus type palate fenestra it’s strange that modern crocodilian would have these fenestra it will make the skull weak that why not found in crocodile and usa gator is known for great biteforce but alligator is a more advance modern crocodilian than crocodile and thin snout of crocodile the Nile crocodile the ancestor of all modern crocodilian they need more of stranger skull so no hole fenestra.mugger crocodile is more ofland crocodile it’s semi aquatic

  17. The need more of strange skull I mean stronger skull.alligator have dinosaur nose the crocodile have mammal nose this design is to increase oxygen intake a warm blooded feature this feature of Nile crocodile and caiman should be only for warm blooded animal .Chinese gator usa gator dwarf crocodile dinosaur nose is deevolution likely choose biteforce over oxygen intake they have mobile pubis hip probaly does not need it and is still is a warm blooded animal and I think the primitive dinosaur allso is warm blooded

  18. Alligatoridae is Chinese gator usa gator caiman the crocodile Nile crocodile gharial dwarf crocodile.the ancestor of Nile crocodile has mammal nose that why so common in modern crocodilian allso found in alligatoridae caiman the Nile crocodile is more close to caiman than the USA gator

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.