Named By: Robert Broom - 1908.
Classification: Chordata, Amphibia, Temnospondyli, Stereospondyli, Rhinesuchidae.
Species: R.broomianus, R. capensis.
Size: 1 - 3 meteres long.
Known locations: South Africa, Karoo basin.
Time period: Permian.
Fossil representation: Several specimens but some are only fragmentary remains.
last of the large carnivorous amphibians, Rhinesuchus
existed at a
time when the majority of the other species became extinct during the
Permian-triassic extinction event. After this time the reptiles would
become the dominant life forms until the KT extinction.
The skull on Rhinesuchus had a flat triangular shape with blunt snout similar to some of the other large amphibians and had a palate filled with small sharp teeth suggesting that it hunted fish. Also, the small eyes were on top of the head suggesting that it approached its prey from below.
It is a popular misconception that Rhinesuchus is named after the Rhine River in Europe, but Rhinesuchus actually gets its name from the Greek word for nose. Two more species, R. africanus and R. wadiai, are considered to be Nomen dubium, while others have been found to be other species. At the time of writing only R.broomianus and R. capensis are recognised.