Sarcosuchus Imperator, commonly known as Sarcosuchus, is indeed part of a family of vanished enormous crocodiles that are related to contemporary crocodiles. It was one of the earliest and biggest crocodile-like reptiles to ever roam the world. They were semi-aquatic animals so enormous that, unlike contemporary crocodiles, the Sarcosuchus continued to grow over the course of its existence.
The name translates from Latin into “flesh crocodile” or “kingly” as a reference to its sheer size and dominant predatory nature. Sarcosuchus, which were found in two species, were alive in the early Cretaceous era.
The very first fossil was found in 1964, and it was a skull that allowed for the identification of them as a separate species. Nevertheless, more substantial information, such as a vertebra, sternum, and other skeleton components, was discovered at the end of the 20th century.
Sarcosuchus, as with all crocodilians, possessed a robust, scaly shell. It used its lengthy, powerful spine and short legs to move through the water quickly. Most notably, the large snout on Sarcosuchus could make up as much as 75% of the overall skull’s span. Its overbite revealed a portion of the crocodile’s dental structure since its top jaw seemed lengthier than its bottom jaw. They possessed 31 teeth on each side of their lower jaw and 35 teeth on every half of their top jaw.
Mature Sarcosuchus size measured approximately 29.5-31.2 ft in length and weighed 7,800-9,500 lbs, according to estimations. In contrast to contemporary crocodiles, which reached their full size at a certain age, Starcosuchus grew steadily throughout its life. As a result, they may have weighed more than 22,000 lbs and could grow upwards to 40 ft in length.
Sarcosuchus devoured a variety of foods, including practically anything it might slaughter and overcome. Massive land species, especially the dinosaurs which were prevalent within its habitat, may have been part of its diet. It was a dreadful predator that was skilled at ambushing prey. Its eyeballs may have shifted in either direction, according to the research. It implies that it spent probably the majority of its life partially submerged beneath the edge of the water, sometimes breaking the surface to lunge at prey, and dragging them in the water.
The Ténéré Desert, an area of the modern Sahara desert, was home to the Sarcosuchus. This region, as well as the entirety of the Sahara, was then a thriving marine environment with many interior streams and a humid tropical climate around 110-112 million years ago. Major river networks on what was then the combined continents of the Americas and Africa were under their control.
Because of their sexual dimorphism, male Sarcosuchus was bigger than females. The complicated courting that precedes coitus, which takes place in water, involves the animals combining vocalizations, contact, and modifications to their body contour to communicate with one another. Very likely, chemical cues play a role in courting as well.
The male then climbs the female’s rear, and they both swivel their tails to bring their separate cloacae into touch and introduce the male erectile organ. Like modern crocodiles, Sarcosuchus lays eggs with a hard shell. However, it’s not entirely clear if they laid their eggs in water or in constructed mounds on dry land.
In its freshwater environment, Sarcosuchus was a top predator. Almost no species existed in the region at that point might have been large enough to cause a threat considering its dimensions. Yet, several apex carnivore species, including the Spinosaurus, existed around the same time and fairly in the same region. It’s plausible that some fierce competition took place for prey access.
Facts about the Sarcosuchus
- Sarcosuchus was double the size of modern crocodiles.
- Sarcosuchus could grow continuously for the past 40 years.
- Sarcosuchus reigned over modern-day Sahara 112 million years ago.
- Sarcosuchus were ambush predators, similar to modern crocodiles.
- Sarcosuchus was not able to perform the “death roll” that modern crocodiles can.
Why did the Sarcosuchus go extinct?
The reasons why the Sarcosuchus went extinct around 115 million years ago are not clear, but the most prevalent theory is that changes in temperature eventually dried up the Sahara, leading to a decrease in available prey. Compounding that with other apex predators that came to prominence soon after, it simply wasn’t feasible for such a demanding predator to sustain its existence.
Is Sarcosuchus bigger than Spinosaurus?
In addition to being the largest ancient crocodile ever, Sarcosuchus was also the largest meat-eating reptile of the Mesozoic Period, surpassing rivals such as the Spinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex in size. The average Sarcosuchus was 2-3 times bigger than the average Tyrannosaurus Rex.
How different are modern crocodiles from the Sarcosuchus?
Very few structural disparities emerged between Sarcosuchus and contemporary crocodiles. It was significantly less flexible because it lacked the ball-and-socket joints that contemporary crocodiles have among each vertebra as well as significantly thicker bony deposits on the skin.
How big could Sarcosuchus grow?
Growth bands found on certain specimens have been studied, and the results indicate that Sarcosuchus was only about 40 years old and not yet completely developed when it perished. In contrast to modern crocodiles, which reach maturity and finalize growing, Sarcosuchus continued to develop. It’s possible that its size was only constrained by its inability to maintain such a large body on the limited availability of food.