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Encyclopedia > Mekosuchine crocodiles
Mekosuchine Crocodiles
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Crocodylia
Family: Crocodylidae
Subfamily: Mekosuchinae
Genera

Australosuchus
Baru
Kambara
Mekosuchus
Pallimnarchus
Quinkana
Triphosuchus

A Mekosuchine crocodiles are an extinct group of crocodiles from Australia and the South Pacific. They first appear in the fossil record in the early Miocene in Australia, and survived until the Pliocene in Australia and until the arrival of man in the Pacific islands of Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Their place in the order Crocodylia is uncertain.


The Mekosuchines were an unusual group. An early species, from Riversleigh Queensland, called the Ridge-headed Crocodile (Trilophosuchus rackhami), was a short snouted large eyed species that has been nicknamed the 'drop croc' as it is theorised it may have attacked prey by climbing trees and dropping on them. Another mekosuchine crocodile fossil has been found in Miocene deposits from New Zealand. One genera, Mekosuchus, managed to spread to the islands of the Pacific; it is believed to have island-hopped across the Coral Sea, moving first to a now submerged island known as Greater Chesterfield Island, then New Caledonia and onwards. Some scientists theorise fossils may eventually be found on the islands of Tonga and Samoa.


The mekosuchines became extinct in Australia after the arrival of crocodiles from the genus Crocodylus, today represented by the Saltwater Crocodile. The group survived on Vanuatu and New Caledonia until the arrival of people, who are presumed to have driven them to extinction.

References

New extinct Mekosuchine crocodile from Vanuatu, South Pacific. Mead, Jim I., David W. Steadman, Stuart H. Bedford, Christopher J. Bell and Matthew Spriggs. Copeia. 2002(3):632-641


  Results from FactBites:
 
Crocodile - Encyclopedia Jr, free information reference for Kids (2134 words)
In this latter crocodile it was actually the skin that was measured by zoologist Jerome Montague, and as skins are known to underestimate the size of the actual animal, it is possible this crocodile was at least another 10 cm longer.
The crocodile experts said as per the parameters, the crocodile would be about 7.62 m since the size of the skull was measured one seventh of the total length of the body.
Crocodiles are more closely related to birds and dinosaurs than to most animals classified as reptiles, the three being included in the group Archosauria ('ruling reptiles').
Crocodile Summary (2134 words)
Crocodiles tend to congregate in slow-moving rivers and lakes, and feed on a wide variety of living and dead mammals and fish.
Crocodiles are more closely related to birds and dinosaurs than to most animals classified as reptiles (though all of these are thought to probably be more closely related to each other than to Testudines (turtles and tortoises), and have correspondingly unusual features for reptiles, such as a four-chambered heart).
In this latter crocodile it was actually the skin that was measured by zoologist Jerome Montague, and as skins are known to underestimate the size of the actual animal, it is possible this crocodile was at least another 4 inches (10 cm) longer.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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