Purussaurus

Name: Purussaurus (Purus lizard - after the Purus River)
Phonetic: Puh-roo-sore-us.
Named By: Barbosa Rodrigues‭ ‬-‭ ‬1892.
Synonyms: Dinosuchus neivensis.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Crocodylomorpha,‭ ‬Crocodylia,‭ ‬Alligatoridae,‭ ‬Caimaninae.
Species: P.‭ ‬brasiliensis‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬neivensis,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬mirandai.
Diet: Carnivore.
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.




       At 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.‭

How Purussaurus compares with other giant crocodiles
Name Time/Location Size (meters)
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
Sarcosuchus‭ (‬crocodile‭). Cretaceous/Africa. 11-12
Smilosuchus‭ (‬phytosaur *not a croc‭). Triassic/USA. 12
Stomatosuchus‭ (‬crocodile‭). Cretaceous/Egypt. 10
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.


Further reading
- A new fossil crocodilian from Colombia. - Proceedings of the United States National Museum 91(3122):55-61. - C. C. Mook - 1941.
- A new giant Purussaurus (Crocodyliformes, Alligatoridae) from the Upper Miocene Urumaco Formation, Venezuela. - Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 4(3):221-232. - O. A. Aguilera, D. Riff & J. Bocquentin-Villanueva - 2006.
- Size and Palaeoecology of Giant Miocene South American Crocodiles (Archosauria: Crocodylia). - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 27 (3). - Jorge Moreno-Bernal - 2007.
- Neogene crocodile and turtle fauna in northern South America. - Amazonia: Landscape and Species Evolution: A look into the past 259-280. - D. Riff, P. S. Romano, G. R. Oliveira & O. A. Aguilera - 2010.
- The 'death roll' of giant fossil crocodyliforms (Crocodylomorpha: Neosuchia): Allometric and skull strength analysis. - Historical Biology. 27 (5): 514–524. - R. E. Blanco, W. W. Jones & J. N. Villamil - 2014.
- Morphometry, Bite-Force, and Paleobiology of the Late Miocene Caiman Purussaurus brasiliensis. - PLOS ONE. 10 (2): e0117944. - Tito Aureliano, Aline M. Ghilardi, Edson Guilherme, Jonas P. Souza-Filho, Mauro Cavalcanti & Douglas Riff - 2015.

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