Many of the most vibrantly coloured vertebrates living on the planet today are reptiles, particularly squamates such as the gold dust day gecko, the collared lizard, the rainbow boa, and the eastern coral snake. Certain testudines including the red-eared slider, the eastern box turtle, and the northern river terrapin also feature bold patterning and coloration.
One hundred and eleven million years ago in a vast river system in Africa, a dance between predator and prey, similar to what we see today was taking place. Off the main river there is a narrow, deep, and murky tributary. Vegetation is thick along the bank except for a patch of muddy dirt that has been worn down by the feet of many thirsty travelers.
Although first described in 1966 the crocodyliforme Sarcosuchus didn’t really achieve popularity until the mid 90’s through early 00’s, with additional discoveries by Paul Sereno and publicity via National Geographic. Since then Sarcosuchus has gone on to become, perhaps, the most popular extinct crocodyliforme of them all.
Crocodilians have always garnered a special interest to me, modern or extinct. From the powerful predators we know today, with up to one tonne bites, to the oddities of the past. This includes giants like this review’s subject, Sarcosuchus, one of the largest crocodilians ever known, known to feed on dinosaurs.