Mourasuchus

Name: Mourasuchus
Phonetic: Moo-rah-soo-kus.
Named By: Price‭ ‬-‭ ‬1964.
Synonyms: Carandaisuchus, Nettosuchus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Crocodylomorpha,‭ ‬Crocodylia,‭ ‬Eusuchia,‭ ‬Alligatoroidea.
Species: M.‭ ‬amazonensis‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ M.arendsi, ‬M.‭ ‬atopus,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬nativus.
Diet: Filter feeder/carnivore.
Size: Up to‭ ‬12‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: South America,‭ ‬Peru.
Time period: Miocene.
Fossil representation: Several individuals represented by skull and mandible‭ (‬lower jaw‭) ‬material and teeth.

       With an estimated length of up to twelve meters long,‭ ‬Mourasuchus was one of the biggest crocodiles of all time.‭ ‬However despite this size Mourasuchus had a relatively weak jaw and skull construction combined with quite small teeth for its size.‭ ‬These two things do not portray an apex predator that wrestled large prey into the water,‭ ‬yet whatever Mourasuchus ate it had to be in plentiful supply in order for it to grow so large.
       With this in mind Mourasuchus may have been a filter feeder like another giant crocodile from Africa called Stomatosuchus.‭ ‬This would essentially involve Mourasuchus submerging or sweeping its jaws into the water and engulfing a shoal of fish.‭ ‬It could then contract its throat muscles to expel water out of the mouth while the teeth prevented its catch from being forced out,‭ ‬leaving Mourasuchus with a mouthful of food.‭
       Mourasuchus was not the only giant crocodile living in South America during the Miocene,‭ ‬and may have on occasion been living in the same areas as the caiman like Purussaurus,‭ ‬and the gharial like Gryposuchus.‭ ‬However if Mourasuchus was indeed a filter feeder,‭ ‬then it may have been able to live alongside other large crocodiles like these without actually competing with them for the same food source.‭ ‬This could also be why Mourasuchus grew so large,‭ ‬because by doing so it could take itself off the list of potential prey items for these other two crocodiles.

How Mourasuchus 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
- Mourasuchus Price, Nettosuchus Langston, and the family Nettosuchidae (Reptilia: Crocodilia). - Copeia 1966 (4): 882–885. - W. Langston - 1966.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Random favourites