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Awad Neme says kronosaurus boyacensis clearly wasn’t a picky eater.
Indeed, the Colombian tour guide says the massive and long-extinct creature — which scientists classify as a pliosaur, an aquatic reptile that preyed on other marine creatures — would have had no problem chowing down on those who were actually quite close to him.
“He ate everything that crossed in front of him — his mom, his cousins, everything,” he says of a formidable predator that swam in a then water-coated part of what is now interior Colombia likely over 100 million years ago, with the largely intact fossilized remains of one of its kind now on display at The Fossil Museum near the Andean Colombian community of Villa de Leyva.
All but part of the tail is displayed at the museum, with the only other mostly intact kronosaurus fossil being in Australia.
Kronosaurus boyacensis had a crocodile-like body and large, turtle-like fins used to propel itself. The museum’s fossil is missing part of its tail, with Neme speculating that that may have led to the death of the carnivore, which would have feasted on a host of marine dwellers.
Fearsome-looking and lengthy teeth can be seen on the museum’s specimen.
Despite the reptile’s imposing size, Awad says it would have had limited intelligence.
Neme estimates that The Fossil Museum’s predator-turned—tourist attraction is around seven meters in length and would be around 9 if all of its tail was still intact.
The Fossil Museum’s most impressive display — the first name of which translates as “lizard of Kronos,” with Kronos being the leader of the Titans in Greek mythology, while boyacensis refers to the Colombian department of Boyaca, in which The Fossil Museum is located — was accidentally discovered in 1977 by an area farmer working his field in an area known for dinosaur fossils.
Neme says another koronosaurus boyacensis skull fossil that’s even larger than the skull of the one in The Fossil Museum has been found in the area, although it isn’t being displayed yet.
Kronosaurus boyacensis may have been doomed when the water that once covered the area gradually drained, with Neme suggesting the creature was too heavy to move on land.
And Maria Paula Torres Guerrero of Colombian tourist board ProColombia says it’s somewhat comforting to think that the “gigantic” carnivore is no longer roaming free in the waters of today’s Colombia.
“If I saw it I would be really afraid. I think you would be very easy food for him,” she states.
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