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Sarcosuchus skull and dermal bones

Museum of Natural History of Venice

Museum of Natural History of Venice

Sarcosuchus imperator was a huge-sized crocodile. The skull of this specimen, 160 centimeters long, allowed to estimate a total length of 12 meters and a weight of approximately 8 tons. The species was provided with about a hundred teeth, long up to 10 cm and suitable to catch large preys, and its diet consisted not only of fish but also of freshwater turtles and small dinosaurs. Its body was dorsally covered by rows of bony plates, partly overlaid to form a sort of armor, which however was likely to restrict its body flexibility and movement speed. At the tip of the snout there was a large round bony bulge, inside which was probably embedded a wide spherical and pneumatic nasal cavity, similar to the "bulla" of today’s Indian gharials; scientists believe that it could have improved the animal's sense of smell, or allowed the production of sounds (Giancarlo Ligabue Foundation Collection).

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Details

  • Title: Sarcosuchus skull and dermal bones
  • Rights: Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia Photo by Barbara Favaretto - MSNVE
  • Scientific name: Sarcosuchus imperator
  • Origin: Africa, Niger, Ténéré Desert, Gadoufaoua
  • Dating: Cretaceous
  • Date: 1972-1973
  • Catalogue number: MSNVE-3718

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