Name: Nundasuchus songeaensis
Meaning: Nundasuchus is a combination of the Swahili word for predator and the Greek word for crocodile, while songeaensis refers to the town of Songea, Tanzania, near where the fossils were found.
Age: Triassic, about 245 million years old
Where in the world?: The Manda Beds of Tanzania
What sort of critter?: Not a dinosaur, but an early archosaur that may be more closely related to crocodiles.
Size: About nine feet long.
How much of the creature’s body is known?: A partial skeleton including parts of the skull, fore and hind limbs, hips, and vertebral column.
Claim to fame: While it’s not yet clear exactly what kind of archosaur Nundasuchus was, this carnivore helps paleontologists track how these reptiles came to dominate the Triassic. Described by Sterling Nesbitt and colleagues, Nundasuchus was one of many archosaurs present in prehistoric Africa just seven million years after the worst mass extinction of all time. With its neighbours – including some of the earliest dinosaurs – Nundasuchus helps show that archosaurs quickly proliferated in the wake of the extinction and outpaced our own protomammal ancestors.