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Last Updated: Thursday January 26 2006 16:17 GMT

Ancient croc found in storeroom

The ancient crocodile was found in a storeroom
The 210-million-year-old fossil of an ancient crocodile has been unearthed in the basement of a museum in New York.

The fossil was gathering dust in a storeroom until two museum staff found it hidden in a plaster cast.

Experts say the beast, which has been named Effigia Okeeffeae, would have walked upright, had short little hands and a beak instead of teeth.

The 2m long fossil is an extinct archosaur, a group including ancestors of dinosaurs, crocodilians and birds.

The remains of the animal were discovered in a quarry in New Mexico, USA, in 1947.

It was then given to New York's American Museum of Natural History, where it was stored in the basement before museum curators discovered it again.


Scientists originally thought the fossil was a kind of dinosaur.

But when they took another look, they realised it is the remains of an ancestor of today's crocodile.

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