Named By: Richard Lydekker - 1885.
Classification: Chordata, Sauropsida, Phytosauria.
Species: P. hislopi (type).
Size: Roughly about 2.4 meters long.
Known locations: India, Andhra Pradesh - Lower Maleri Formation, and Madhya Pradesh - Tiki Formation.
Time period: Carnian to Norian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Remains of several individuals ranging from disarticulated isolated remains to articulated skeletons.
early days of the formal classification of the phytosaur Parasuchus
a little muddy to say the least. The original description of the
genus later turned out to be a ‘chimera’, meaning that the
remains described were of two different animals described as one, in
this case a phytosaur and a rhynchosaur.
When the German
palaeontologist Freidrich von Huene discovered that the braincase of
the remains belonged to a rhynchosaur genus named Paradapedon
now a synonym to Hyperodapedon),
study of Parasuchus began to be
clearer, especially with the advent of new Parasuchus
later in the twentieth century. On a quick side note, the name
Parasuchus actually first appeared in print in
1870 in a list
written by Thomas Huxley, but because there was no formal description
for what it was, Richard Lydekker was still able to use the name in
Parasuchus is now known by much more complete skeletal remains, and these indicated that Parasuchus was a particularly primitive genus in terms of physical development. The known temporal range of the genus in the late Triassic however indicates that Parasuchus was also a late surviving form since other more advanced genera of phytosaurs are known to have been living at the same time as this genus.
The phytosaurs were analogous to today’s crocodiles in their ecological niche, though technically they are not related to them. Because they are always found in what were semi-aquatic environments, phytosaurs like Parasuchus are expected to have been predators lurking in the water of river systems and lakes, occasionally basking on the edges. The description of the protosaur genus Malerisaurus was born out of the discovery of two almost complete individuals that were believed to have been the stomach contents of two Parasuchus. This has indicated that Parasuchus included more advanced vertebrates into its diet and not just fish.
- Maleri and Denwa Reptilia and Amphibia - Palaeontology Indica 1: 1–38. - Richard Lydekker - 1885.
- A primitive parasuchid (phytosaur) reptile from the Upper Triassic Maleri Formation of India - Palaeontology 21 (1): 83–127. - Sankar Chatterjee - 1978.
- Malerisaurus, A New Eosuchian Reptile from the Late Triassic of India - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 291: 163–200. - Sankar Chatterjee - 1980.
- The Early Evolution of Archosaurs: Relationships and the Origin of Major Clades - Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 352: 1–292. - Sterling J. Nesbitt - 2011.