African crocodiles are believed to have swam across the Mediterranean Sea six million years ago, only to settle in Italy and Spain.
Biologists write this in the journal of Paleontology.
Different species of crocodiles lived in Europe millions of years ago, sometimes even next to each other.
A specific species, the 3 meter long African Crocodyllus, would not belong to these native European species.
Still, paleontologists have found several remains of prehistoric crocodiles along the Mediterranean Sea, believed to belong to the Crocodyllus genus.
The fossils were discovered in Valencia, Spain, and Tuscany, Italy.
The fact that several fossils have been found at a considerable distance from each other along the southern European coast makes paleontologists suspect that a population of the crocodiles lived in Europe.
The most obvious explanation for this, say the discoverers, is that the crocodiles swam across the Mediterranean.
To do this, they compare the animals with contemporary congeners, who are agile in the water and can swim up to 32 kilometers per hour.
For example, modern sea crocodiles can swim far out to sea and, for example, make the crossing from the continent of Oceania to Southeast Asia.
It has also been observed more often how this species moves between the islands of the Solomon Islands and French Polynesia.