Named By: M. B. Andrade, M. T. Young, J. B. Desojo & S. L. Brusatte - 2010.
Synonyms: Dakosaurus carpenteri, Geosaurus carpenteri.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Crocodylomorpha, Thalattosuchia, Metriorhynchidae, Geosaurini.
Species: T. carpenteri (type), T. coryphaeus.
Size: Roughly estimated about 4.7 meters long.
Known locations: England, - Kimmeridge Clay Formation.
Time period: Late Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial skull and post cranial remains.
the skull of Torvoneustes was originally described
it was thought to
belong to a species of Metriorhynchus,
M. superciliosus. However
the later discovery of post cranial remains led to the conclusion that
the skull remains did not belong to that species of Metriorhynchus,
and they were re-described as a new species of Dakosaurus,
carpenteri, in 2008. Later in 2008, the remains
moved to a another genus as a species of Geosaurus,
carpenteri. Ultimately in 2010, the remains were again
reclassified, this time as their own genus, Torvoneustes.
2013 a second species, T. coryphaeus, was
named from further
remains recovered from the Kimmeridge Clay Formation.
Torvoneustes was a metriorhynchid thalattosuchian, a creature that can be more simply referred to as a marine crocodile adapted for life in the sea. The legs were flattened and shaped more like paddles, while the tail would have ended with a fish-like fluke, similar to those of ichthyosaurs. The hard osteoderms that are commonly found in the skin of terrestrial (land dwelling) crocodiles were also gone so that the skin had a more hydrodynamic surface, making swimming easier and more efficient.
Despite being large Torvoneustes seems to have been adapted more for a piscivorous (fish eating) diet. This is because the jaws of Torvoneustes are relatively long with teeth that are smaller than those of suspected hyper carnivorous genera like Dakosaurus which were better at slicing the flesh of other marine reptiles. This is not to say that Torvoneustes would not target other marine reptiles in its pursuit of prey, just that the teeth and jaws would be better suited for work upon fish.
As far as comparisons to other metriorhynchid crocodiles go, Torvoneustes was larger than Geosaurus and Metriorhynchus, but roughly comparable to larger Dakosaurus. Even larger than all of these though was Plesiosuchus.
- A new metriorhynchid crocodilian (Mesoeucrocodylia: Thalattosuchia) from the Kimmeridgian (Upper Jurassic) of Wiltshire, UK - Palaeontology 51 (6): 1307–1333 - L. E. Wilkinson, M. T. Young, J. B. Desojo & S. L. Brusatte - 2008.
- The evolution of extreme hypercarnivory in Metriorhynchidae (Mesoeucrocodylia: Thalattosuchia) based on evidence from microscopic denticle morphology. - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(5):1451-1465 - M. B. Andrade, M. T. Young, J. B. Desojo & S. L. Brusatte - 2010.
- A new metriorhynchid crocodylomorph from the Lower Kimmeridge Clay Formation (Late Jurassic) of England, with implications for the evolution of dermatocranium ornamentation in Geosaurini - Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 169 (4): 820 - M. T. Young, M. B. De Andrade, S. Etches & B. L. Beatty - 2013.