EUROPE’s last ever crocodile has been discovered by paleontologists near Granada.
Paleontologists at the site, in Baza, Granada, have found a 4.5 million year old crocodile fossil amongst mammoths and small vertebrates.
Martinez Navarro, the paleontologist leading the excavation told Viruji: “It is a species of crocodile of African origin that reached the Iberian Peninsula by crossing the sea just before the Mediterranean dried up during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, just over 6 million years ago”.
The dig, which finished this Sunday, has also unearthed many large fossils in excellent conditions including many mammoths.
The site, known as Baza-1, was discovered in 1996 but work didn’t start until four years later, when 2000 fossils were recovered.
The seventh dig held at the site, the project was led by academics from the University of Malaga Sergio Ros-Montoya, Rovira i Virgili University and The Catalan Institute for Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution.
The excavation will allow experts to understand the environment at that time, which they believe was a tropical climate characterised by high temperatures and rainfall.
Paleontologists from Italy, Spain, Ethiopia and Greece took part in the dig and an eighth excavation is expected in the coming years.