Prehistoric Crocodiles: A Complete List of Ancient Crocodiles

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Crocodiles, sometimes referred to as "living fossils," look almost exactly as they did millions of years ago. The earliest crocodiles came from the Triassic period about 240 million years ago. Crocodilians came before the dinosaurs, but from the same crown group, Archaeosaurus . This set includes crocodiles, birds, pterosaurs and dinosaurs. Fossils found around the world help us piece together what some ancient crocodilians looked and did. Take a look at the full list of ancient crocodiles!

crocodile bite force dino crocodile attack dinosaur
Ancient crocodiles existed at the same time as dinosaurs. Some are nearly 40 feet long.

©Elenarts/Shutterstock.com

Aegisuchus : 100.5-93.9 million years ago, large flat head, nicknamed "shield head", fossils found in Morocco.

Allodapossuchus : 86.3-66 million years ago, very similar to modern crocodiles, 9 feet long, fossils found in France, Romania and Spain.

Amphicotylus milesi : 150 million years ago, semi-aquatic, very similar to modern crocodiles, fossils found in Wyoming's Morrison Formation.

Anatosuchus: 113-110.5 million years ago, small crocodile nicknamed "Duck Croc", about 2 feet long, with a beaked and elongated nose, fossils were found in Niger.

Angistorhinus: 237-208.5 million years ago, nicknamed "hook nose", long and thin nose, larger crocodile, about 26 feet long, fossils found in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming.

Armadillo: 94-84 million years ago, nicknamed "armadillo crocodile", with a thick bony plate on its broad back, 6 feet long, fossils were found in the Bauru Basin in Brazil.

Baurusuchus : 93.9-89.8 million years ago, land crocodile, eyes and nostrils on the sides of the skull, 11-13 feet long, fossils found in Brazil.

Brachychampsa : 93.5-63.3 million years ago, one of the earliest alligators, 8-10 feet long, fossils found in the Hell Creek Formation of Montana, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Carnufex: 237-228 million years ago, nicknamed "The Butcher of Carolina," walked upright on two legs, was 9 feet long, and was considered a major predator before the age of dinosaurs, fossils were found in North Carolina.

Kanu Fox
Carnufex is an extinct genus of Late Triassic crocodylomorph suchian.

©YuRi Photolife/Shutterstock.com

Champsosaurus: 93.9-58.8 million years ago, a larger and smaller species, the largest was 10 feet, the smallest was nearly 5, looked more like a modern crocodile, with a long and thin snout, fossils found in the United States, Canada and France , some fossils are almost complete.

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Crocodylus checchiai: 23-5.3 million years ago, fossils found in Libya and Kenya. After recently reexamining a skull, scientists have proposed that ancient crocodiles originated in Australia and its surrounding islands and traveled across Africa to the Americas.

Dakosaurus: 163.5-139.8 million years ago, a marine crocodile with a high and deep skull, 13-16 feet long, nicknamed "Bitter Lizard", fossils distributed in North America, South America, Europe and Russia.

Deinocrocodile: 82-73 million years ago, one of the largest dinosaurs ever recorded, nicknamed the "dreadful crocodile," 26-39 feet long and 5,500-11,000 pounds, fossils found in the United States and Mexico.

The largest crocodile ever
Deinocrocodiles are part of the crocodile family, which includes modern alligators, crocodiles, and gharials.

© Daderot/CC0 1.0 – License

Diplocynodon: 83.5-70.6 million years ago, a marine crocodile, nicknamed "double dog teeth" because of its two 3-4 feet long canine-like teeth, fossils found in many European countries and New Jersey, Virginia and Wyoming.

Doswellia: 23.7-208.5 million years ago, skinny alligator, close to the ground, 6 feet long, fossils found in Texas, Utah, New Mexico and Virginia.

Erpetosuchus: 237-201.3 million years ago, one of the oldest crocodiles, walked like a greyhound, almost two feet long, smaller crocodiles, fossils found in Scotland and Connecticut.

Euthecodon : 23-2.58 million years ago, a large crocodile with a long nose, a nose 10 meters (32+ feet!), a thick tail, and only four teeth. Fossils were found in Egypt and Ethiopia.

Gryposuchus: 23-5.3 million years ago, looked like a modern giant crocodile, 10 meters (32 feet) long, fossils found in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.

Goniopholis: 16.35-145 million years ago, looked like a modern crocodile, about 6.5 feet long, fossils found in Europe and Africa.

Gracilisuchus : 242-237 million years ago, nicknamed "the graceful crocodile," small hind-legged crocodile, only 2 feet long including tail, fossils found in Argentina.

Geosaurus: 163.5-100.5 million years ago, alligator, about 10 feet long, fossils found in France and Germany.

Isisfordia : 100.5-93.9 million years ago, a small Australian crocodile, 3 feet long and similar in appearance to modern crocodiles, is a fossil found in Australia.

Kaprosuchus : 1-95 million years ago, nicknamed "wild boar crocodile", similar in size to modern saltwater crocodiles, 20 feet long and 2,000 pounds, fossils found in Africa.

dead crocodile
Rat crocodiles can reach lengths of up to 20 feet.

©Warpaint/Shutterstock.com

Moran crocodile : 23-5.3 million years ago, one of the largest crocodiles that ever lived, up to 39 feet long, with a duck-like mouth and a pouch like a pelican, fossils found in South America, unique specimens on our list of ancient crocodiles.

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Mahajangasuchus : 100.5-66 million years ago, estimated to be 16 feet long based on skull size, fossils found in Madagascar.

Metriorhynchus: 16.35-145 million years ago, a marine crocodile with a claw-like tail like a dolphin. It is one of the better-known prehistoric crocodiles. It is about 10 feet long. Many fossils come from Europe.

Mystriosuchus: 22.8-196.5 million years ago, elongated snout like modern man-eating crocodiles, about 13 feet long, lived in European rivers and streams, fossils found in Germany and Italy.

Neptunidraco: 170.3-168.3 million years ago, a marine crocodile with a dolphin-like tail, about 13 feet long, fossils were found in Italy.

Notosuchus: 85 million years ago, one of the first crocodiles considered to be entirely terrestrial (living only on land), about 5 feet long, fossils were found in Patagonia, Argentina.

Purussaurus: 23 million to 5.3 million years ago, one of the largest crocodiles that ever lived, reaching lengths of up to 41 feet and weighing up to 18,000 pounds, top predator of the Miocene, thought to have the strongest bite of any animal of that century In the world, fossils found in South America definitely belong on our list of ancient crocodiles!

The largest crocodile ever: Purussaurus mirandai
Purussaurus was one of the largest crocodiles ever lived, with some estimated to be as long as 41 feet!

Poposaur: 237-201.3 million years ago, one of the earliest ancient crocodiles, walked on hind legs, was about 13 feet long, included a T-rex-like tail, and was found in various locations in Arizona, Texas, and Wyoming fossils found.

Phytosaurus: 22.9-200 million years ago, nicknamed "Plant Lizard", a semi-aquatic crocodile, with a slender nose and sharp front teeth, about 10 feet long, fossils found in North America, Europe and India.

Pakasuchus: 125-100.5 million years ago, a crocodile that tried to be a mammal, had mammal-like teeth, a dog-like snout at the end, long legs but a small body, only about 20 inches long, nicknamed " Cat "crocodile" fossils have been found in South Africa and Tanzania.

Pholidosaurus : 145-100.5 million years ago, long-nosed sea crocodile, fossils found in Germany

Protosuchus: 201.3-145 million years ago, one of the earliest crocodiles, small in size, only about 3 feet long, with a short snout, fossils were found in Arizona, Canada and South Africa.

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Quinkana: 24 million to 40,000 years ago, a large Australian crocodile, long-legged tall crocodile, about 5 feet high on the back, and 20 feet long, land crocodile, fossils were found in Queensland, Australia.

Rhamposuchus: 23 million to 5.3 million years ago, one of the largest crocodiles, 26-26 feet long, 26-26 feet long, fossils found in India.

Rutiodon: 237-208.5 million years ago, very similar to modern crocodiles, 8-26 feet long, fossils found in Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, and several states in the United States.

Sarcosuchus: 110 million years ago, large crocodile nicknamed "Super Crocodile," estimated to be 29-40 feet long, plump with a heavy tail, fossils were found in Algeria, Brazil, Morocco, and Niger.

Largest crocodile ever: Sarcosuchus imperator
Sarcosuchus imperator (meat-eating crocodile), nicknamed Supercroc, was estimated to be 40 feet long.

© HombreDHojalata / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Stomatosuchus: 1.005-93.9 million years ago, a large crocodile, but there were no teeth at the bottom, and there was a pelican-like bag under the nose. Scientists are curious about what it ate. It was about 32 feet long. The fossil was found in Egypt.

Smilosuchus: 237-201.3 million years ago, two species of different sizes, both had long legs and a long nose, the smaller was about 16 feet and the larger was about 22 feet, fossils were found in Arizona.

Terrestrisuchus: 208.5-201.3 million years ago, small crocodilians were only about 30 inches long, land crocodilians, with longer legs, probably agile, fossils found in England and Wales, definitely belong to our list of ancient crocodiles.

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Largest crocodile ever: Sarcosuchus imperator
Sarcosuchus imperator (meat-eating crocodile), nicknamed the super crocodile, was estimated to be 40 feet long with a skull over 5 1/2 feet long, making it one of the largest crocodiles that ever lived.

© HombreDHojalata / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License / Original


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I'm a wildlife conservation writer and reporter who raises awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share our planet. I graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris with a degree in Elementary Education, and I am a former teacher. When I'm not writing, I enjoy going to the kids' soccer games, watching movies, working on DIY projects, and running with Tango, our giant Labrador.

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