Scientists have discovered a new species of crocodile and given it the best name ever: Athracosuchus balrogus after J.R.R. Tolkien’s Balrog:
A. balrogus was found in the Cerrejon mines in Columbia but are thought to have originated in Africa and then migrated to Columbia roughly 75 million years ago. They also estimate that the species survived the extinction event that took out the dinosaurs, so they’re looking to A. balrogus to give them some clues “as to how animals survive extinctions and other catastrophes” according to study co-author Alex Hastings.
Hastings also told LiveScience, “As we face climates that are warmer today, it is important to understand how animals responded in the past. This family of crocodyliforms in Cerrejón adapted and did very well despite incredible obstacles, which could speak to the ability of living crocodiles to adapt and overcome.”
I find it interesting that, in some small way, a Balrog may help humanity survive a little longer. Ironic, huh?