Reptiles and Dinosaurs
Crocodilian is an order of large
reptiles that appeared in the late Cretaceous Period and it includes the
alligator, crocodile, gavial and caiman families. Locally, anything
found relating to the crocodilian order is usually referred to as "crocodile"
or "croc". In the NJ streams, the fossilized remains of these reptiles is usually limited to the isolated tooth and fragments of
boney plates called scutes. Croc teeth
average about ½ inch in length are generally conical in shape, curved and may
posse a very weak cutting edge. The scutes, are dimpled bony plates just under the
surface of the skin which served both as body armor and to help regulate
body temperature. Blood would pool in these dimples, collecting heat
from the sun and be circulated through the rest of the crocodile’s body.
Except for the vertebrae, the other fossilized remains are
too fragmented to make a positive identification.
The teeth have a smooth
enamel coating, are conical in shape
The roots are hollow, there is a conical indentation
at the base
Somewhat less common than the teeth are the boney
Left - scute Right - Stream
A complete crocodile scute.
An assortment of stream worn crocodile teeth. These
teeth do not seem
An unusual find for this area, Tertiary crocodilian