Bernissartia

Name: Bernissartia ‭(‬from Bernissart‭)‬.
Phonetic: Burn-iss-are-tee-yah.
Named By: Louis Dollo‭ ‬-‭ ‬1883.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Crocodylomorpha,‭ ‬Bernissartiidae.
Species: B.‭ ‬fagesii‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: 60‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Belgium,‭ ‬England,‭ ‬Spain,‭ ‬North America.
Time period: Hauterivian/Barremian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Many specimens,‭ ‬particularly skulls and post cranial remains from Belgium and Spain.

       Although giant crocodiles like Sarcosuchus usually steal the limelight,‭ ‬the little ones such as Bernissartia can prove just as interesting.‭ ‬Aside from being one of the smallest crocodiles in the fossil record,‭ ‬Bernissartia had two distinct types of teeth.‭ ‬The front teeth are sharp and pointed,‭ ‬and are thought to have been for biting into small slippery prey like fish.‭ ‬The rear teeth however are more rounded and blunt,‭ ‬more suitable for crushing prey like shellfish and crustaceans.‭ ‬Some Bernissartia remains have been found in association with the remains of the ornithopod dinosaur Iguanodon,‭ ‬raising the possibility that they may have scavenged the carcass of a dinosaur that had drowned‭ (‬although this is but one explanation‭)‬.
       Bernissartia is usually thought of as inhabiting coastal environments,‭ ‬possibly on the coast itself or in lagoons not far from.‭ ‬As such it is possible that Bernissartia may have behaved like a beach comber,‭ ‬feeding upon available animals when found as well as scavenging the remains of creatures that had washed onto the beach.‭ ‬Higher sea levels during‭ ‬the cretaceous meant that Europe was more of chain of islands surrounded by shallow seas rather than the single landmass we know today,‭ ‬meaning that such coastal environments were amongst the most extensive of the Cretaceous.



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