Deinosuchus (Day-no-sook-uss), Terrible Crocodile, lived in the Late Cretaceous Campanian of North America and was large enough to be a danger even to dinosaurs. It was a larger analogue of the modern saltwater crocodile, living a similar life-style although not a member of the same family. There are some similarities to modern alligators but Deinosuchus is not their ancestor. Although they survived the great extinction at the end of the Mesozoic, crocodyliformes are not as diverse today being restricted to amphibious niches.
Genera and Species
Classification: Crocodilia, ?Eusuchia, ?Alligatoroidea
Species: D. ?rugosus
Deinosuchus broad mouth had robust teeth that could crunch bone, much like the later Tyrannosaurus. Analysis of the osteoderms suggests they lived to be fifty years old and would have been constantly growing for at least the first thirty-five years.
LENGTH: 12 m (36 ft).
WEIGHT: 5 – 10 tons.
Deinosuchus was an apex predator, feeding on a range of fish, turtles and dinosaurs. Like modern crocodiles, they would have scavenged carcasses of dinosaurs but evidence on the fossils shows that even tyrannosaurs were prey.
History of Discovery
Discovery, Holland ?- 1909, fossils include teeth, boney armor and fragmentary skulls.
In North America, the remains found in the western US are larger than the Deinosuchus remains found in the east, but eastern specimens outnumber western specimens. Sharing the interior seaway with mosasaurs, they appear to have preferred brackish deltas at the mouths of rivers. Young Deinosuchus are not found in the interior seaway, indicating they remained in a separate environment until large enough not to be eaten by the mosasaurs and other predators.