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Scientists reveal prehistoric terror

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Scientists say "Godzilla" the marine crocodile, may have looked like the digital model on the right.

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(CNN) -- Scientists say they have discovered the intact fossilized skull of a marine crocodile with a dinosaur-like head and a fish-like tail that likely terrorized the Pacific Ocean 135 million years ago.

The head of the expedition that found the specimen has dubbed it "Godzilla."

The fossil was discovered in 1996 in the Patagonia region of Argentina and researchers spent years uncovering the skull and analyzing their find. They published their work Thursday in the journal Science.

Zulma Gasparini, paleozoology professor at Argentina's Universidad Nacional de La Plata, said the fierce-looking animal probably terrorized creatures in the Pacific Ocean 135 million years ago, just as the film monster Godzilla frightened the people of Tokyo in the movies.

"We are calling him the 'chico malo' -- 'bad boy'" of the ocean, she said.

Report co-author Diego Pol of Ohio State University said "Godzilla," whose scientific name is Dakosaurus andiniensis, had a short, high snout and large, jagged teeth for biting and cutting prey.

He said this was surprising, because other marine crocodiles have long, thin snouts and many smaller teeth.

But Pol said "Godzilla" was a top ocean predator and preyed much like the dinosaurs of its era.

He said it was probably about 12 feet long and had four paddle-like limbs instead of the legs of today's crocodiles.

The National Geographic Society and Argentina's National Council of Scientific and Technical Research funded the research.

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