In its lifetime, the Stenocranio boldi was one of the largest predators in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, according to the Journal of Paleontology. It is estimated that the animal could grow to a length of one and a half metres. According to the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, which was involved in the study, the habitat at the time was a tropical river and lake landscape.
Large teeth for slippery prey
"Stenocranio had three pairs of large, backward-curved fangs in its palate, which were used to hold on to slippery prey such as fish," explained the museum. The prey was then presumably swallowed more or less whole. In terms of body shape and lifestyle, the fish and carnivore occupied a similar ecological niche to the later crocodiles.
The depiction of the dinosaur - short legs, stocky build and a large mouth with which it appears to be smiling - has been well received on social networks. Numerous users have produced funny memes from it.
The scientist and palaeo-artist Frederik Spindler, who created the illustration, was delighted with the response. "I think it's great that the palaeo-world and the internet world are intertwined." The aim of the 3D reconstruction was to show the main features. He couldn't change anything about the facial expression: "I can't make the animal look more serious. It's a bit like dolphins, they can't look serious."
Written by: sda
Photos: Museum für Naturkunde Berlin