Giant ancient crocodiles were ideal dinosaur hunters

Researchers from the University of Iowa (USA) have done a great job summarizing data on the fossil remains of Deinosuchus - giant crocodiles that lived 80 million years ago. The result was a new classification of these creatures, three species were identified: the basic Deinosuchus riograndensis, the closely related D. hatcheri, and the recently identified D. schwimmeri. The first two lived in western North America, the third terrorized the swamps and reservoirs of the Mississippi.

The sizes of all three species differed slightly, at the peak of growth, Deinosuchus could weigh more than 8 tons and have a body length of more than 12 m. Their teeth are remarkable - on average, they were the size of a banana. This is an unambiguous sign of a predator, and a dominant one, because even the strong shells of ancient turtles could not resist the bite of such teeth. Calculations show that the bite force of a large Deinosuchus could reach 356 450 N, which is ten times more than that of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Scientists concluded that Deinosuchs were unlikely to have natural enemies. Like modern crocodiles, they hunted in shallow water, devouring dinosaurs and other creatures that came to drink. All the traces of the teeth of Deinosuchus on the bones of their victims fall on the limbs and tailbone - the monster dragged them under the water with a powerful grip, where it slowly devoured.

Such a large creature is always hungry, therefore, in the diet of Deinosuchs, there were also large fish, as well as other aquatic inhabitants. Several factors point to the specialization of these crocodile ancestors. Thus, the eastern Deinosuchus preferred sea food, including sharks, while the western ones purposefully hunted dinosaurs. They often killed other large predators, such as tyrannosaurs, in the struggle for hunting grounds.

Deinosuchus skull next to the skull of a modern alligator