Named By: Gurich - 1912.
Synonyms: Ramphostoma neogaeus.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Crocodylomorpha, Crocodylia, Gavialidae, Gryposuchinae.
Species: G. neogaeus (type), G. colombianus, G. croizati, G. jessei.
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.
was initially known as Ramphostoma neogaues until
the addition of the
second species in 1912 when it was realised that Ramphostoma
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
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.
|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|
|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.|
- 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.