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Full Version: Giant prehistoric caiman had extra hip bone to carry its weight
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They found that the now-extinct giant caiman had an extra vertebra in its sacrum, the lower part of its spine. Its shoulder girdle was also aligned with the action of gravity, allowing it to better move its massive weight.
"Our findings are important because they help show how development can be altered in order to enable biomechanical changes as animals evolve into larger body sizes," Prof John Hutchinson of The Royal Veterinary College in London said.
Dr Schreyer said the discovery "broadens our knowledge of what animals can do in evolution".
"These old bones show us once again that the morphological variation seen in animals that are long extinct extends well beyond that of what is known in living animals," he said.
Purussaurus mirandai is the only crocodylian that has been found to have the extra vertebra in its sacrum, the scientists said.

It really amazes me to see more information like this about prehistoric animals. It however makes me wonder, if these animals were so well-adapted to their environments, why then did many of them go extinct? Any thoughts?