Purussaurus (Purus lizard - after the Purus River)
Named By: Barbosa Rodrigues - 1892.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Crocodylomorpha, Crocodylia, Alligatoridae, Caimaninae.
Species: P. brasiliensis (type), P. neivensis, P. mirandai.
Size: Skull up to 1.4 meters long. Body length estimated between 11 and 13 meters.
Known locations: South America, particularly Amazonia.
Time period: Tortonian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Several specimens, usually of skull material.
between eleven and thirteen meters long it goes without saying that
Purussaurus was an apex predator capable of
attacking large prey. As
a caiman crocodile, Purussaurus had an extremely
stout and robust
skull that housed large conical teeth suited for gripping and holding
onto powerful prey.
Purussaurus is one of the growing number of contenders for the epithet of largest crocodile. Other crocs to obtain giant sizes include Sarcosuchus, Deinosuchus, Rhamphosuchus, as well as Gryposuchus and Mourasuchus, which are known from similar times and locations as Purussaurus.
|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|
|Smilosuchus (phytosaur *not a croc).||Triassic/USA.||12|
|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.|