Two of the largest crocodiles ever to live.
Meaning of name: Terrible Crocodile; also known as Phobosuchus, which means Horror Crocodile.
Species: Deinosuchus rugosus.
Classifications: Crocodilia, Eusuchia, Alligatoroidea.
Size: 12m (36ft).
Weight: 4.5-9 Metric tonnes (5-10 Imperial tons).
Time: Campanian stage (Late Cretaceous).
Location: specimens have been found in Utah, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and North Carolina.
Named by: Ebenezer Emmons, in 1909.
Not much to see here, just your everyday giant alligator; no, seriously, I mean did you even look at the stats for this thing?
I could tell you all sorts of things about this animal… only for you to realise that, it is quite literally, just a gigantic crocodile in every way.
A bony palate at the back of the mouth, allowing it to open its mouth underwater without swallowing water (helps prevent drowning). Was most probably an ambush predator, floating very still at the water’s surface, waiting for the opportune moment to strike at the nearest and most vulnerable dinosaur. Went through thousands of teeth within it’s lifetime. Etcetera.
Meaning of name: Flesh Crocodile.
Species: Sarcosuchus imperator, Sarcosuchus hartti.
Classification: Diapsida, Archosauromorpha, Mesoeucrocodylia, Pholidosauridae (note the lack of an actual crocodilian family, Sarcosuchus technically isn’t a crocodile).
Size: 11-12m (36-39ft).
Weight: 8 Metric tonnes (8.8 Imperial tons).
Time: Aptian to Albian stages (Late Cretaceous).
Location: remains have been found in the Sahara desert, with some teeth having recently been found in Brazil, South America.
Named by: France De Broin, in 1966.
While not actually a crocodile, Sarcosuchus was more than close enough to be classified as one, having originally been classified as a crocodile but later being reassigned to a different clade. Unlike it’s nearest relatives of the time, Sarcosuchus is believed to have been an active hunter of large prey animals (dinosaurs included), while it’s relatives were specialised piscivores (fish-eaters). And you wouldn’t be remiss for saying it ate fish either, the jaws are rather thin in relation to the rest of the body, by comparison to other crocodyliforms (crocodile-like reptiles); the thin jaws don’t exactly seem suited to grappling with large prey, but scans show the bones to be much stronger than previously thought.
Hence, this was an animal that hunted just like a crocodile.
Many people love the idea of pitting Deinosuchus against Sarcosuchus; an event that, just like a Tyrannosaur fighting a Spinosaur, would never happen – due to differences in locales and time stages lived in. But theoretically?
Deinosuchus is more suited to handling large prey items than Sarcosuchus, but Sarcosuchus has the weight advantage. Judging from that greater weight, it’s safe to say Sarcosuchus has more muscle tissue per cubic centimetre than Deinosuchus, leading one to believe that Sarcosuchus (in all probability) has a much stronger bite.
This is a case of weight and power versus capability. Deinosuchus has the overall advantage but a few bites from Sarcosuchus is all it would take to severely injure a Deinosuchus.
This has been Deinosuchus and Sarcosuchus, this has been me, and you’ve been reading Palaeontology Made Easy.