Anthracosuchus

Name: Anthracosuchus (‬Coal crocodile‭)‬.
Phonetic: An-frah-coe-soo-kus.
Named By: A.‭ ‬K.‭ ‬Hastings,‭ ‬J.‭ ‬I.‭ ‬Bloch‭ & ‬C.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Jaramillo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2014.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Crocodylomorpha,‭ ‬Dyrosauridae.
Species: A.‭ ‬balrogus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Skull roughly about‭ ‬66‭ ‬centimetres long.‭ ‬Body length estimated about‭ ‬4.8‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Colombia‭ ‬-‭ ‬Cerrejón Formation.
Time period: Selandian of the Paleocene.
Fossil representation: Partial skulls of four individuals.

       Anthracosuchus is a genus of dryosaurid crocodile that lived in Colombia approximately sixty million years ago.‭ ‬Unusually for a dryosaurid crocodile,‭ ‬Anthracosuchus had a particularly broad and short blunt snout,‭ ‬very difference to the‭ ‬more slender snouts that are more commonly seen in related genera.‭ ‬A shorter and broader snout indicates that Anthracosuchus likely had a much stronger bite than other dryosaurids since there is more space for stronger and more powerful jaw closing muscles,‭ ‬and food being placed nearer to the point of jaw articulation can have a proportionately greater amount of force brought against it.‭ ‬This in turn suggests that Anthracosuchus may have had a specialist prey preference towards tougher animals such as turtles.‭ ‬Indeed,‭ ‬the turtle genera Carbonemys and Puentemys are known from the same formation as Anthracosuchus,‭ ‬though with adults of these genera having shells over one and a half meters long,‭ ‬Anthracosuchus may have picked on the smaller juveniles of these large turtles.
       Anthracosuchus is considered to have been a basal dryosaurid,‭ ‬though it is not the only one from the Paleocene of Colombia,‭ ‬with Chenanisuchus and Cerrejonisuchus also known.‭ ‬The latter of these,‭ ‬Cerrejonisuchus is also known from the same formation as Anthracosuchus,‭ ‬as well as another dryosaurid crocodile genus named Acherontisuchus.‭ ‬With an estimated length of just under five meters,‭ Anthracosuchus would have been at least double the size of the largest estimate for Cerrejonisuchus,‭ ‬but comparable to the lower estimate of Acherontisuchus.‭ ‬If Anthracosuchus had a preference for tough prey‭ ‬like‭ ‬turtles,‭ ‬then this might explain why so many genera of crocodiles were in the same ecosystem‭;‬ with each genus upholding a particular predatory niche,‭ ‬they could avoid direct competition with one another for the same prey.
       The species name for Anthracosuchus,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬barlogus may sound familiar to you.‭ ‬If so then this is because the type species for Anthracosuchus was named after the Balrog,‭ ‬the huge fiery creature that appeared in the Mines of Moria of the first Lord of the Rings book‭ (‬and later film‭)‬.‭ ‬A real life monster that Anthracosuchus would have lived in fear of though was the giant snake Titanoboa.‭ ‬With upper estimates ranging between just under thirteen to fifteen meters long,‭ ‬an Anthracosuchus would have been easy prey for a large Titanoboa.

Further reading
-‭ ‬A new blunt-snouted dyrosaurid,‭ ‬Anthracosuchus balrogus gen.‭ ‬et sp.‭ ‬nov.‭ (‬Crocodylomorpha,‭ ‬Mesoeucrocodylia‭)‬,‭ ‬from the Palaeocene of Colombia.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Historical Biology.‭ ‬-‭ ‬A.‭ ‬K.‭ ‬Hastings,‭ ‬J.‭ ‬I.‭ ‬Bloch‭ & ‬C.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Jaramillo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2014.



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