Flesh crocodile emperor
Cretaceous Period, 112-94 MYA
Countries in Africa
40 feet long, 8 tons
- The skull of Sarcosuchus, while large and adapted for delivering powerful bites, does not appear to be built to withstand the forces of the crocodile death-roll. Modern crocodiles and alligators use their tails to rapidly spin the bodies in order to rip prey into pieces since they lack the ability to chew.
- Unable to effectively dismember large prey, it is possible Sarcosuchus focused more on animals small enough to be swallowed whole or else used another method to tear prey apart.
- Despite being commonly called the “super-croc”, Sarcosuchus was not actually a true crocodile. It belonged to a closely related family of reptiles known as pholiodosaurs. They have slightly different arrangements of their skull bones, but otherwise were very similar to modern crocodiles. Sarcosuchus appears to be the only member of this group that does not show specialization for piscivory.
Sarcosuchus is one of the contenders for largest crocodilian. Its skull alone measures close to 6 feet in length and is narrow when compared to modern crocodiles. It is estimated that Sarcosuchus could clamp its jaws shut with over 9 tons of bite force. That’s a stronger bite than T. rex has! The end of Sarcosuchus’s snout had a broad expansion known as a bulla. Some scientists compare it to ghara found on modern gharial, which is used to enhance the vocalizations of the male. However, bullas have been found in all Sarcosuchus fossils which strongly suggests this was not a sexually selected trait. It may have been used for non-mating vocalizations or to enhance that animal’s sense of smell.
Kingdom - Animalia Phylum - Chordata Class - Reptilia Order - Crocodylomorpha Family - Pholidosauridae Genus - Sarcosuchus Species - S. imperator