Named By: A. K. Hastings, J. I. Bloch, C. A. Jaramillo, A. F. Rincon & B. J. Macfadden - 2013.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Crocodylomorpha, Crocodilia, Alligatoridae, Caimaninae.
Species: C. mesoamericanus (type).
Size: Full size estimated to be about 2 meters long.
Known locations: Panama - Culebra Fromation.
Time period: Burdigalian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Skull and three cervical (neck) vertebra.
is a genus of caiman crocodile
that lived in Central America during the
early Miocene. The presence of Culebrasuchus in
Panama has also led
to speculation that North and South America may have been joined much
earlier than previous thought, albeit only temporally, though other
kinds of caiman are known from slightly older deposits in other parts
of South America. There may even have been a series of brief land
bridges between North and South America going all the way back to
late Cretaceous given the appearance of hadrosaurid
dinosaurs in South
America during the late Cretaceous, long after the break away from
Africa. At the time of writing Culebrasuchus is
only known from a
skull and a few vertebrae, but when these are scaled to modern
forms, an average size of about two meters long can be established
for the holotype individual, making Culebrasuchus
comparable to the
modern caiman forms that we know today.
Another genus of caiman, Centenariosuchus was named at the same time as Culebrasuchus.
- Systematics and biogeography of crocodylians from the Miocene of Panama. - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33(2):239-263 - A. K. Hastings, J. I. Bloch, C. A. Jaramillo, A. F. Rincon & B. J. Macfadden - 2013.