Not a dinosaur, but it certainly hunted them; Deinosuchus is a famous prehistoric crocodilian from the late Cretaceous. While superficially a massive crocodile, it was actually a genus of alligator. This meant it had a broad snout meant for locking onto a diverse amount of prey types. Deinosuchus was without question an apex predator and exceeded the size of all known contemporary terrestrial predators in the region weighing in at 12+ meters (39 feet) long and 5.5+ tons. It stalked both the freshwater rivers and lakes and the Western Interior Seaway of the United States, and fossil evidence supports it was a generalist predator feeding on large dinosaurs, fish, sea turtles, mosasaurs, cephalopods, pterosaurs, and diving birds. If it could catch it, it was on the menu; ambushing from the waters edge and using its weight to pull animals beneath the surface. This was made possible by its immense strength, and a bite force that surpassed Tyrannosaurus rex’s at a minimum of 18,000 N and a maximum of 102,000 N. That much force would’ve shattered bone to splinters and crushed even giant sea turtle shells to fragments. The only creatures it would’ve truly had as rivals were the oceanic giant mosasaur Tylosaurus and giant shark Cretoxyrhina. Nonetheless it seemed to have been right at home in the open sea and freshwaters, and it swam the breadth of the prehistoric United States to whatever feeding grounds it wished.
- Like many reptiles, Deinosuchus grew during its entire life. Study of their bony armor, or osteoderms, show that they could live over 50 years. Growing for so long, elder Deinosuchus may have reached over 40 feet long, and hunted anything they set sights on.
- Deinosuchus is in a unique position among Mesozoic wildlife. It is perhaps one of the only non-dinosaur apex predators since the Triassic period that was unrivaled by its dinosaur peers. Albertosaurus on the west coast, a 30 foot Tyrannosaur, and Appalachiosaurus on the east coast, a 26+ foot Tyrannosaur, both show evidence of lethal encounters with the superpredator crocodilian. Only Tyrannosaurus itself may have rivaled it on land, but it disappears from the fossil record before the Tyrant King arrived.
- Despite its heavy weight, Deinosuchus could perform the infamous death roll. With a 5+ ton behemoth ripping into that spin, it could’ve cleaved hapless dinosaur prey into edible chunks effortlessly.
- It’s name means “Terrible Crocodile.”
Would you like to see Deinosuchus in Jurassic World: Alive?
How do you think it would be in game?
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