Araripesuchus, skull

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The Crocodylomorpha are an extensive taxon of Archosauria or Avesuchia in which the detected since the Upper Cretaceous crocodiles ( Crocodylia ) are combined with their sometimes little crocodile -like appearance core group of representatives from the older Mesozoic.


The most primitive Crocodylomorphen are the Saltoposuchidae and Sphenosuchidae. They lived in the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic, and were land-dwelling, 0.5 to 1.5 long, long-legged animals that had an agile way of life and could potentially hold by the metabolic activity of a uniform body temperature. Maybe the Saltoposuchidae could have also moves biped (only on the hind legs ).

In the later evolution, the development of the actual crocodiles, the animals went to an aquatic lifestyle on, developed into somewhat sluggish lurking predators and were re poikilotherm because they had to spend in the water for the endothermic too much energy. Reached its climax in the aquatic life in the marine crocodiles ( Thalattosuchia ) of the Mesozoic. In the Tertiary, some groups were terrestrial again. The still living 23 species of crocodiles are only a small remnant of a once great species richness.


The primitive Crocodylomorpha share features of the skull anatomy, in particular the position of the quadrate and squamosal, with the crocodiles. The skulls are massive and not kinetically but pneumatized and heavily braced everywhere. This allows very fast and executed with great force bites are captured. This allows for a diet by particularly large prey. The cranial window are always small, overgrown with modern crocodiles. The jaws can be opened very far, the powerful muscles put on the rear end of the lower jaw.


Nomenclature of Crocodylomorpha by Michael J. Benton ( 2007):

  • Crocodylomorpha † Sphenosuchia † Saltoposuchidae
  • † Sphenosuchidae
  • Notosuchia † Notosuchidae
  • † Chimaerasuchidae
  • † Comahuesuchidae
  • † Candidodontidae
  • † Sphagesauridae
  • Baurusuchidae
  • † Uruguaysuchidae