Gryposuchus

Name: Gryposuchus
Phonetic: Grip-oh-soo-kus.
Named By: Gurich‭ ‬-‭ ‬1912.
Synonyms: Ramphostoma neogaeus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Crocodylomorpha,‭ ‬Crocodylia,‭ ‬Gavialidae,‭ ‬Gryposuchinae.
Species: G.‭ ‬neogaeus‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬colombianus,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬croizati,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬jessei.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Estimated‭ at up to ‬10‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: South America including,‭ ‬Argentina,‭ ‬Brazil,‭ ‬Colombia,‭ ‬Peru and Venezuela.
Time period: Early to mid Miocene.
Fossil representation: Many specimens of skull material and teeth.

       Gryposuchus was initially known as Ramphostoma neogaues until the‭ ‬addition of the second species in‭ ‬1912‭ ‬when it was realised that Ramphostoma was already used and actually a synonym for a genus of blind snakes called Leptotyphlops.‭ ‬Although a synonym,‭ ‬Ramphostoma could not be applied as it was first used in‭ ‬1860‭ ‬and the first Gryposuchus fossil not described until twenty-five years later in‭ ‬1885.
       In life Gryposuchus would have resembled a ten meter long gharial,‭ ‬a‭ ‬crocodile that has a particularly long and narrow snout.‭ ‬Gharials are known to eat almost entirely fish when full grown and it is possibly that Gryposuchus hunted in a similar way for particularly large fish species.‭ ‬Gryposuchus also seems to have been active in both coastal and freshwater locations,‭ ‬further increasing its ability to find prey,‭ ‬perhaps also including marine mammals into their diet.
       Gryposuchus lived in South America during a time that may have seen it living in the same waterways as two other giant crocodiles called Purussaurus and Mourasuchus that were actually a little larger than Gryposuchus itself.‭ ‬However Gryposuchus may not have directly competed with either of these two as Purussaurus seems to have been a more generalist predator of large animals,‭ ‬while Mourasuchus seems to have been a filter feeder consuming mouthfuls of small prey.‭
       A giant crocodile that may have been similar to Gryposuchus is called Rhamphosuchus.‭ ‬While this crocodile also lived during the Miocene period,‭ ‬it actually lived on the other side of the world on the Indian subcontinent.

How Gryposuchus compares with other giant crocodiles
Name Time/Location Size (meters)
Deinosuchus‭ (‬alligator-like crocodile‭). Cretaceous/USA. 10-12
Gryposuchus‭ (‬gharial-like crocodile‭). Miocene/S.‭ ‬America. 10
Mourasuchus‭ (‬alligator-like crocodile‭). Miocene/Peru. 12
Purussaurus‭ (‬caiman-like crocodile‭). Miocene/S.‭ ‬America. 11-13
Rhamphosuchus‭ (‬gharial-like crocodile‭). Miocene/India‭. 8-11
Sarcosuchus‭ (‬crocodile‭). Cretaceous/Africa. 11-12
Stomatosuchus‭ (‬crocodile‭). Cretaceous/Egypt. 10
3 of todays largest living crocs below
Alligator mississippiensis‭ (‬American alligator‭). Present/S. E. USA. 3.4‭ ‬average‭ ‬- up to almost‭ ‬6.
Crocodylus niloticus‭ (‬Nile crocodile‭). Present/Africa. Average up to‭ ‬5,‭ ‬largest up to 6.45.
Crocodylus porosus‭ (‬Salt water crocodile‭). Present/India, S. E. Asia, N. Australia. Average 4-5.5, largest recorded 6-6.6, possibly slightly bigger.

Further reading
- Gryposuchus jessei, ein neus schmalschnauziges Krokodil aus den jüngeren Ablagerungen des oberen Amazonas-Gebietes. - Mitteilugen des Mineralogisch, Geologischen Instituts Hamburg 4:59-71. - G. Gürich - 1912.
- Fossil crocodilians from Colombia and the Cenozoic history of the Crocodilia in South America. - University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 52:1-169. - W. Langston Jr - 1965.
- Crocodilians, Gryposuchus and the South American gavials by W. Langston and Z. Gasparini. - In Vertebrate Paleontology in the Neotropics - R. F. Kay, R. H. Madden, R. L. Cifelli, J. J. Flynn (eds.). - 1997.
- The world's largest gharials Gryposuchus: description of G. croizati n. sp. (Crocodylia, Gavialidae) from the Upper Miocene Urumaco Formation, Venezuela. - Paläontologische Zeitschrift 82(2):178-195. - D. Riff & O. A. Aguilera - 2008.



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