8A VERY OLD FISH The coelacanth (SEE-luh-kanth) is an ancient fish. It lived about millionyears ago. People first learned aboutthe coelacanth by studying its fossils.Fossils are the shapes or remains leftbehind by something that lived a longtime ago.
10People believed that the coelacanths died millions of years ago. But in 1938,a fisherman caught a coelacanth nearMadagascar.
11Since then more have been caught. Now scientists are hopeful they can protect coelacanths.They believe they can help because thescientists have learned more about thefish. Coelacanths are unable to live inthe warm water near the top of theocean. They can only live deepunderwater.
12BOY FINDS FOSSILS In 1999, twelve-year-old Miguel Avelas amazed scientists all over the world.Miguel discovered hundreds of fossilsin Patagonia, in the southern partof South America.
13Miguel led a team of scientists to the fossils. The scientists guessed thefossils were from a lizard.The scientists studied the fossils andwere able to confirm that their ideawas correct.
14The fossils gave them valid information that this lizard had lived more than120 million years ago.Now they had proof that it had lived inPatagonia. Miguel’s discovery gave thescientists important new information.
18Did a crocodile the size of a school bus once live on Earth?
19What kind of animal was it? Its body was about 40 feet long. That’s about the size of a schoolbus. Its jaws were about 5 feetlong. That’s about as long assome people are tall! It hadabout teeth.
20Name: Sarcosuchus Imperator (Super Croc) Length: Up to 50 feet Weight: About 17,500 poundsLived: About million years ago
21This powerful creature hid in the water, waiting for an animal to come to theriver for a drink. Any animal that wasgrabbed by those teeth would beunable to get away.
22Don’t worry. This toothy giant is no longer alive today. It lived aboutmillion years ago, when dinosaursroamed the Earth. That’s aboutmillion years before humanbeings were around.
23American AlligatorLength: Up to 20 feetWeight: about 1,300 poundsLives: Alive today
24Australian CrocodileLength: Up to 23 feetWeight: About 2,000 poundsLives: Alive today
25Paul Sereno, a scientist, was the leader of a team of scientists who found thebones of the animal.They discoveredthem in Niger,a country in Africa.
26Sereno and his team were hopeful the bones belonged to a kind of giant crocodile from the time of thedinosaurs. But they weren’t sure.The whole team needed to study thebones before they could confirmtheir theory.
28They compared the bones to the bodies of crocodiles living today. If the bones were similar, the theorywould be valid.
29The shape of the head and skull bones gave Sereno and his team the proof they were looking for. Theancient bones belonged to a“Super Croc” that lived at the sametime the dinosaurs lived on the Earth.
30Sereno made copies of the bones to keep in the United States. The originalbones were sent back to the countryof Niger. If you want to see the real“Super Croc,” the bones are on displayin the museum there.