Metriorhynchus Brevirostris, or simply known as the Metriorhynchus, is a type of aquatic crocodilian species that existed within the waters throughout the latter part of the Jurassic period and is now extinct. Their name is derived from Greek which translates to “Medium Snout” as a direct reference to its notably long snout.
One of the more well-known marine crocodilians has characteristics that indicate it belonged in the water rather than on land. The tip of the tail bears signs of having a fluke, and the legs had developed to resemble flippers more. It is believed that the legs were only employed for maneuvering, and the tail served as the primary mode of propulsion in the water.
Metriorhynchus, a creature that lived in the later Jurassic era, resembled the present-day crocodiles. Its length was around 9.8 feet, and its weight was approximately 500 pounds. It has a sleek body, a thin and lengthy snout, and a tail with fins. They compromised their osteoderms, acquired front limbs and rear limbs resembling hydrofoils and paddles, and gained a tail that was slightly flattened, enabling effective water propelling.
Paleontologists argue that Metriorhynchus perfectly resembled contemporary crocodiles. Therefore, it is assumed to have had 250 bones, the same number as crocodiles. They are an ill-defined class of organisms whose presence is primarily inferred from broken fossilized remains, primarily bits of skulls.
Metriorhynchus was a skilled predator who consumed a wide variety of sustenance, including pterosaurs, immense fish like Leedsichthys, and both sluggish and swiftly moving ammonites and belemnites. In addition, there are indications that they would certainly scavenge on creatures like plesiosaurs, demonstrating an opportunistic manner in which they lived life.
It most likely achieved this by sitting with its head elevated just below the water’s surface, leaving only the tip of its nose exposed. A Pterosaur would subsequently jump out of the water’s surface and strike a Pterosaur that had gotten close enough with the end of its tail before grabbing it in its clutches. This is an identical method of hunting that modern crocodiles are documented doing.
By studying their fossilized remains, scientists have learned that Metriorhynchus frequented the waters and seas of Western Europe, which included France and Germany. The presence of glands that secrete salt serves as a compelling indicator that Metriorhynchus lived the majority of its existence in the sea. Several marine organisms have these salt glands, which function by removing excess salt from the circulation to ensure it can be expelled outside in a concentrated state.
Metriorhynchus’s duration in the water is unknown, as is whether it ever made it back to land. As demonstrated by its maritime specialties, its bones would have proved much heavier on land. However, it may have needed them for certain functions like egg-laying, similar to what turtles do.
Although they had more recent earth-based predecessors than other aquatic reptiles, which meant that they might not have had sufficient time for development to achieve live birth at sea, it is important to keep in mind that they developed via various contours. The juveniles would have emerged on their own and traveled perilously to the ocean off the shoreline.
Metriorhynchus had strong hunting abilities, yet it was comparatively helpless in opposing additional, bigger predatory reptiles. More powerful predators like the fine-necked species like Pliosaurus and Liopleurodon that were swimming through the oceans at the exact same period might have devoured them. Geosaurus, Torvoneustes, Plesiosuchus, and Dakosaurus are a few additional recognized Mesozoic aquatic crocodiles that would hunt them.
Facts About the Metriorhynchus
- Metriorhynchus was initially discovered in 19th-century Europe.
- Metriorhynchus would reach a length of 10 ft, and weigh 500 lbs.
- Metriorhynchus was given its correct name in 1832 by German paleontologist Christian von Meyer.
- Metriorhynchus’ special salt glands allowed them to filter out seawater.
- Metriorhynchus lived 165-150 million years ago.
When did the Metriorhynchus become extinct?
Metriorhynchus first emerged into existence in the earlier Cretaceous, between the middle and late Jurassic. The Thalattosuchia group of Metriorhynchus, on the contrary, first arose at the beginning of the Jurassic. The reasons for their extinction are unclear, a thought is that due to the differentiation of species, they were phased out from better-adapted species.
Is Metriorhynchus a crocodile?
Metriorhynchus, in contrast to contemporary crocodiles, shed much of its armor to improve its swimming speed. It was so well suited to water habitat that it most likely only visited shore to find a partner. Once it was separated from the water, it was not particularly mobile.
What are Metriorhynchus ancestors to?
Metriorhynchus, which are frequently found throughout Europe, are crocodiles’ forebears. Like their progenitors Metriorhynchus, crocodiles are massive, rigidly formed reptiles that resemble lizards. They have top-mounted earlobes, eyes, and nostrils as well as lengthy flattened snouts and squashed tails. Both crocodiles and their forebears have scales covering their bodies.
How did Metriorhynchus manage highly salinated water?
Metriorhynchus had salt glands that would filter out seawater, as well as fish that would contain high levels of salt in the meat. Considering that they were relatively a new addition to aquatic crocodile species this adaptation allowed them to bridge the gap.