Period of life: 80 MYA
Habitat: Water basins
Length: 10-12 m
Deinosuchus is an extinct genus of crocodilian animals related to the modern alligator that lived 80 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period. Deinosuchus’ two large teeth were the first fossils unearthed in North Carolina, a state in the eastern United States, in 1858. Five years later, archaeologists unearthed several osteoderms - bone plates which covered the dinosaur’s back. Deinosuchus was the ancestor of modern crocodiles but significantly exceeded them in body length.
The name of the reptile means “terrible crocodile”. Indeed, its length was estimated to be about 12 metres and its weight about 5 tonnes. Its jaws contained more than 40 large and robust teeth fitted for crushing even a sea turtle’s shell. Deinosuchus’ bite force was estimated at about 102 000 Newton, while the modern-day crocodile’s bite force is estimated at around 34 000 Newton. It is comparable to a Tyrannosaurus’ jaws strength.
Given its strength, western North America Deinosuchus preferred to prey on dinosaurs such as Triceratops or Tyrannosaurus. It ambushed prey at the water’s edge and sank its teeth into the skin with a deadly grip. Deinosuchus adopted hunting tactics akin to living crocodiles, performing a death roll. The dinosaur dragged the prey, submerged it and began spinning it around its axis while dismembering the carcass into pieces. Eastern North America’s ancient reptiles were smaller and preyed upon turtles, large fish, and small dinosaurs.
Scientists’ research data indicates Deinosuchus’ 50 year’s lifespan of which 35 years maturing. During this period, crocodiles could observe how generations of one dinosaur species were replaced.
Diet: Meat, fish
Length: 10-12 m
Weight: 8.5 tonnes
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