- Sarcosuchus imperator
- “Super Croc”
- Cretaceous Age
- Elrhaz Formation
- Sahara Desert
- Niger, North Africa
- This specimen measures approx. 1 3/8″ long and will come in the 5.25″ x 6.25″ Riker Mount with Label as Shown
Sarcosuchus is an extinct genus of crocodyliform and distant relative of the Gavialidae that lived 112 million years ago. It dates from the early Cretaceous Period of what is now Africa and South America and is one of the largest crocodile-like reptiles that ever lived. It was almost twice as long as the modern saltwater crocodile and weighed up to 8 tonnes.
The first remains were discovered during several expeditions led by the French paleontologist Albert-Félix de Lapparent, spanning from 1946 to 1959, in the Sahara Desert. These remains were fragments of the skull, vertebrae, teeth and scutes. In 1964, an almost complete skull was found in Niger by the French CEA, but it was not until 1997 and 2000 that most of its anatomy became known to science, when an expedition led by the American paleontologist Paul Sereno discovered six new specimens, including one with about half the skeleton intact and most of the spine.
Sarcosuchus was a giant relative of crocodiles, with fully grown individuals estimated up to have reached up to 11–12 metres (36–39 feet) in total length and 8 tonnes (8.8 short tons) in weight. It had somewhat telescoped eyes and a long snout comprising 75% of the length of the skull, there were 35 teeth in each side of the upper jaw while in the lower jaw there were 31 teeth in each side, the upper jaw was also noticeably longer than the lower one leaving a gap between them when the jaws were shut, creating an overbite. In young individuals the shape of the snout resembled that of the living gharial but in fully grown individuals it became considerably broader.
Based on the broader snout of fully grown S. imperator when compared to the living gharial and other narrow-snouted crocodiles, along with a lack of interlocking of the smooth and sturdy-crowned teeth when the jaws were closed, Sereno et al. hypothesized that S. imperator had a generalized diet similar to that of the Nile crocodile. A diet that would have included large terrestrial prey such as the abundant dinosaurs that lived in the same region