A NEWLY-identified species from 150 million years ago that was an ancestor to crocodiles has given experts an insight into how some animals evolved.

The Cricosaurus bambergensis fossil discovered in a quarry near Bamberg in Bavaria, Germany, in 2014, was found to be a previously unseen species when compared to other museum collections.

Digital images allowed further research, showing more resemblance to dolphins than crocodiles. They also fed on prey such as squid and small fish, and lived during the Jurassic era in shallow seas and lagoons.

Dr Mark Young, of Edinburgh University’s School of Geosciences, who took part in the study, said: “The rock formations of southern Germany continue to give us fresh insights into the age of dinosaurs. These rock layers were deposited at a time when Europe was covered by a shallow sea, with countries such as the UK being a collection of islands.

The research is published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.