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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Holotype tooth of S. cultridens
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Theropoda
Family: Spinosauridae
Genus: Suchosaurus
Owen, 1841
  • S. cultridens Owen, 1841 (type)
  • S. girardi Sauvage, 1897

Suchosaurus (meaning "crocodile lizard") is a carnivorous theropod dinosaur from Cretaceous England, it was mistaken for a genus of Crocodile when it was found. The first fossils were of its teeth, two species have been named so far.

History of discovery[change | change source]

Mandible and tooth from Suchosaurus girardi

In 1820, scientist Gideon Mantell got hold of some fossilized teeth discovered near East Sussex, and in 1822, the British naturalist William Clift identified them as crocodile teeth.[1] Two years later in 1824, Georges Cuvier mentioned them in the first interpretation of a spinosaurid fossil. But at the time, paleontologists didn't know about the crocodile-like teeth of spinosaurids[2]

In 1897 the second species "Suchosaurus girardi" was named, after two pieces of its jaw and one tooth were found in Portugal.[3]

During the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century, scientists thought that Suchosaurus was probably some kind of obscure Crocodilian. But in 1998, paleontologist Angela Milner was publishing a new description of Baryonyx, and she realized that the teeth of that spinosaurid dinosaur were extremely similar to those from Suchosaurus. Later in 2003, she suggested that they could be the same animal.[4] Suchosaurus teeth are also very close to the ones from Cristatusaurus and Suchomimus, all this means it has the general features of a member from the family Baryonychinae.

References[change | change source]

  1. Mantell, G.A., 1822, The fossils of the South Downs or Illustrations of the Geology of Sussex, London, Rupton Relfe
  2. Cuvier, G., 1824, Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles, deuxième édition. Dufour & d’Ocagne, Paris. 547 pp
  3. Sauvage, H. E. (1897–1898). Vertébrés fossiles du Portugal. Contribution à l’étude des poissons et des reptiles du Jurassique et du Crétacique. Lisbonne: Direction des Travaux géologiques du Portugal, 46p
  4. Milner, A., 2003, "Fish-eating theropods: A short review of the systematics, biology and palaeobiogeography of spinosaurs". In: Huerta Hurtado and Torcida Fernandez-Baldor (eds.). Actas de las II Jornadas Internacionales sobre Paleontologýa de Dinosaurios y su Entorno (2001). pp 129-138

Other websites[change | change source]