Exhibit celebrates history of crocodiles that once roamed New Jersey

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A new exhibit at the New Jersey State Museum celebrates the history of an animal that once roamed the Garden State millions of years ago.

The exhibit is called “Jersey Crocs Rule,” and it runs through Sept. 8.

“New Jersey actually has some of the best fossil crocodile material of anywhere in the world,” says Dana Ehret with the State Museum.

The New Jersey crocodiles survived the dinosaurs that once roamed the area and thrived for millions of more years. They eventually left the area when the Earth cooled down.

One of the exhibit’s items is a cast of a 6-foot long skull of a deinosuchus, one of the world's largest known crocodiles. They were known to grow to about 35 or 40 feet long. A complete skeleton has not been found in New Jersey, but state officials do have teeth and a vertebrae.

There are also fossils that were found in Burlington, Gloucester and Hudson counties.

The fossil found in Gloucester County is nicknamed “Three Ensis.” It is the most complete crocodile skeleton ever found in New Jersey.

“It was named ‘Three Ensis’ because the paleontologist who described it, Chris Brochu, is a New Jersey native and this was found in Gloucester County so he named it ‘Three Ensis’ after the exit on the New Jersey Turnpike closest to where it was found,” says Ehret.

Many of the crocodiles that once were found in New Jersey were saltwater creatures, living in seas that once covered what is now dry land.

More information about the exhibit can be found on the State Museum’s website.

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