(Leaf tooth crocodile).
Named By: J. D. Harris, S. G. Lucas, J. W. Estep & J. Li - 2000.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Diapsida, Archosauria, Crocodylomorpha, Sphenosuchia.
Species: P. lufengensis (type).
Size: Holotype skull 71.4 millimetres long.
Known locations: China - Lufeng Formation.
Time period: Sinemurian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial skull and jaws.
is a genus of sphenosuchian crocodile
that lived in Asia during the
early Jurassic. Phyllodontosuchus had a
meaning that the shape of the teeth differed according to their
position in the mouth. The first few teeth in the mouth were conical
in a similar fashion to most other crocodylomorphs, but the teeth
behind these were more leaf shaped.
It may be that Phyllodontosuchus was in the process of switching from a carnivorous meat eating diet, to a herbivorous plant eating diet. This is backed up by the observation that some sauropodomorph and ornithischian dinosaurs which ate plants had similar tooth arrangements, though they are not a close match when studied in detail. It is also noted some other genera of sphenosuchian crocodylomorphs are also identified as eating plants, therefore the probability is that Phyllodontosuchus was at least capable of being omnivorous (eating meat and plants) while potentially completely herbivorous.
At the time of its description (and writing of this article) Phyllodontosuchus is known only from a partially crushed skull and jaws. These seem to come from an adult individual, and with a length of just over seven centimetres, it would seem that Phyllodontosuchus was a small crocodylomorph.
- A new and unusual sphenosuchian (Archosauria: Crocodylomorpha) from the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation, People's Republic of China. - Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie Abhandlungen 215:47-68. - J. D. Harris, S. G. Lucas, J. W. Estep & J. Li - 2000.