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Jurassic 'monster' fossil rewrites crocodile history

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Jerrell Lawson
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University of Edinburgh doctoral student Davide Foffa describes the Melksham Monster as "not the prettiest fossil in the world."

The evocative nickname belongs to an unusual specimen of prehistoric crocodile.

The fossil has been in London's Natural History Museum archives since 1875, but researchers just announced it actually represents a new species with the formal name Ieldraan melkshamensis.

The croc's moniker comes from its original discovery in the town of Melksham in England.

First, the researchers had to carefully separate the fossil from surrounding rock, a process that took weeks.

What they found was a skull, lower jaw and teeth that set it apart from previously known species of ancient reptiles.

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Jerrell Lawson
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