16-million-year-old caiman remains found in Catalonia

Prehistoric caiman remains in Catalonia date back 16 million years

The caiman would have looked like a small alligator

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Remains of a prehistoric caiman that lived 16 million years ago have been found in Catalonia.

The Diplocynodon ratelii fossils were found in the Valles-Penedes basin in the 1990s, but it was not clear how far they dated back until now, according to El Mundo.

The study, which discovered the age of the fossils, also found that the temperature in the region at the time the caiman lived was much higher than first thought.

The caiman would have looked like a small alligator and hunted rodents and fish to eat.

It is also now believed that the species would have measured around one metre in length. It would have shared its habitat with animals such as rhinos, primates and mouse-deer.

Previously it was believed that the species only lived in the south of France, but now it is clear its habitat extended into north-eastern Spain as well.

Scientists would now like to recover more fossils from the area, but need approval to do so from the council who own the land.