<p class="Body">The newfound, cat-size crocodile <em>Pakasuchus kapilimai</em> (illustrated) had <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/">mammal</a>-like teeth that helped give the fossil crocodile a power previously unknown among <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/">reptiles</a>: the ability to chew.</p><p class="Body">One key to that ability is that the 105-million-year-old crocodile's lower jaw could slide back and forth (inset).</p><p class="Body">"Crocodiles alive today don't have a major sliding component to their jaw," said lead study author <a href="http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/dbms-oconnor/biographical.htm">Patrick O'Connor</a>, an Ohio University paleontologist. "It's just a hinged joint that allows the jaw to move up and down."</p><p>(<a id="ow20" title="Read the full story of the mammal-like crocodile." href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/08/100804-new-crocodile-fossil-pakasuchus-nature-science-mammal-teeth/">Read the full story of the mammal-like crocodile.</a>)</p><p><em>—with reporting by Ker Than</em></p>

Built to Chew

The newfound, cat-size crocodile Pakasuchus kapilimai (illustrated) had mammal-like teeth that helped give the fossil crocodile a power previously unknown among reptiles: the ability to chew.

One key to that ability is that the 105-million-year-old crocodile's lower jaw could slide back and forth (inset).

"Crocodiles alive today don't have a major sliding component to their jaw," said lead study author Patrick O'Connor, an Ohio University paleontologist. "It's just a hinged joint that allows the jaw to move up and down."

(Read the full story of the mammal-like crocodile.)

—with reporting by Ker Than

Illustration courtesy Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

Pictures: Ancient "Cat Crocodile" Discovered

See features that made the newfound fossil crocodile Pakasuchus kapilimai unique: mammal-like teeth, a bendy back, and more.

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