Named By: Friedrich von Huene - 1942.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Rauisuchia, Paracrocodylomorpha, Prestosuchidae.
Species: P. chiniquensis (type).
Size: Usually credited as up to 5 meters long. An individual discovered in Brazil in 2010 was credited as the equivalent of 6.7 meters long at the time of its discovery.
Known locations: Brazil - Santa Maria Formation.
Time period: Ladinian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Several individuals, at least one almost complete.
appears to be some confusion regarding the full size of Prestosuchus.
Earlier fossil discoveries seemed to point at a total length of around
five hundred centimetres for an adult Prestosuchus.
However an almost
complete specimen reported in 2010 was stated as being the
equivalent of about six hundred and seventy centimetres long. If this
is correct, then Prestosuchus would represent one
of the largest
predators that we know about, with only the genus
Regardless of what the adult size of Prestosuchus was, it was without doubt an apex predator that would have targeted other reasonably large animals. Rauisuchians like Prestosuchus are usually seen as ambush predators, rearing up and delivering a strong bite to the back of a target animal. Evidence does actually support his, as the aforementioned 2010 specimen of Prestosuchus was found in sedimentary rock that has been perceived to have been a watering hole for local wildlife. Ambush predators are known to haunt such locations as inevitably prey species will come to them in order to drink.
The key thing about the 2010 specimen of Prestosuchus is that it included a remarkably well preserved rear leg, so much so that paleontologists were able to accurately reconstruct the muscle groups of the leg, and allowing for a more accurate general reconstruction of the animal. In Prestosuchus the strongest and best developed muscles of the rear leg were for limb rotation, not back and forth movement, which indicates that Prestosuchus had a primarily quadrupedal posture. It should be pointed out however that other types of rauisuchian such as poposaurids like Poposaurus, seem to have been primarily bipedal.
- Lieferungen 3/4. Pseudosuchia, Saurischia, Rhynchosauridae und Schlussabschnitt [Parts 3/4. Pseudosuchia, Saurischia, Rhynchosauridae, and Conclusions]. Die Fossilen Reptilien des Südamerikanischen Gondwanalandes. Ergebnisse der Sauriergrabungen in Südbrasilien 1928/29 [The Fossil Reptiles of South American Gondwanaland. Results of the Dinosaur Expeditions in southern Brazil 1928/29]. - C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, München 161-332. - Friedrich von Huene - 1942.
- A reconstruction of the thigh musculature of the extinct pseudosuchian Prestosuchus chiniquensis from the Dinodontosaurus Assemblage Zone (Middle Triassic Epoch), Santa Maria 1 Sequence, southern Brazil. - Geological Society, London, Special Publications. doi:10.1144/SP379.20. - A. Liparini & C. L. Schultz - 2013.
- The braincase of Prestosuchus chiniquensis (Archosauria: Suchia) - Geological Society of London Special Publications 08/2013; 379(1):425-440. DOI: 10.1144/SP379.10 - B. M. Mastrantonio, C. L. Schultz, J. B. Desojo & J. B. Garcia - 2013.