Nicrosaurus

Name: Nicrosaurus ‭(‬Neckar lizard‭ ‬-‭ ‬after the Neckar river‭)‬.
Phonetic: Nek-roe-sore-us.
Named By: Fraas‭ ‬-‭ ‬1866.
Synonyms: Belodon kappfi.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Archosauria,‭ ‬Phytosauria,‭ ‬Phytosauridae.
Species: B.‭ ‬kappfi‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬meyeri, B. buceros.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Skull about 75cm long. Total body length possibly up to about 4 meters.
Known locations: Germany. USA, New Mexico.
Time period: Norian to Rhaetian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.

       Nicrosaurus is another one of the phytosaurs,‭ ‬reptiles that have a striking similarity to modern crocodiles,‭ ‬although the position of the nostrils higher up the snout and in front of the eyes is a dead giveaway that Nicrosaurus is a phytosaur‭ (‬crocodiles have their nostrils on the tips of their snouts‭)‬.‭ ‬Nicrosaurus is today considered to be closely related to the phytosaur Mystriosuchus,‭ ‬and at one time these two phytosaurs were once thought to represent male and female versions of phytosaurs in general.‭ ‬This‭ ‬idea came about upon the basis that the larger snouts of phytosaurs like Nicrosaurus were display devices only upon‭ '‬males‭’ ‬and were for‭ ‘‬females‭’ ‬that had slender gracile snouts like those seen in Mystriosuchus.‭ ‬A little bit of detective work by palaeontologists has since completely discredited this theory however as the‭ ‘‬female‭’ ‬and‭ ‘‬male‭’ ‬forms are not only found separate,‭ ‬but are each found in strata that are from different geological periods.‭ ‬These are the hallmarks of different genera and species,‭ ‬not sexes.
       An interesting discovery regarding a collection‭ ‬of Plateosaurus has found that some of these dinosaurs were possibly trapped in quicksand and then scavenged by wandering predators.‭ ‬Some of the teeth associated with this discovery were found to be those of Nicrosaurus which shows that scavenging was a part of this phytosaurs behaviour.‭ ‬It also brings into light the possibility of Nicrosaurus hunting and killing smaller dinosaurs that would have steadily been becoming much more common towards the end of the Triassic.

Further reading
- Heterodonty in the European phytosaur Nicrosaurus kapffi and its implications for the taxonomic utility and functional morphology of phytosaur dentitions. - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology - A. Hungerbühler - 2000.
- Two new phytosaur species (Archosauria, Crurotarsi) from the Upper Triassic of southwest Germany. - Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Monatshefte 2000(8). - A. Hungerbühler & A. P. Hunt - 2000.
- The phytosaur Nicrosaurus buceros in the upper triassic of the Chama basin, north-central New Mexico. - Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. - K. E Zaigler, S. Lucas, A. ,Heckert & A. Hunt - 2001.
- Possible secondarily terrestrial lifestyle in the European phytosaur Nicrosaurus kapfii (Late Triassic, Norian): a preliminary study. - Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science 61 - J. Kimmig - 2013.



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