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Temporal range: Late Triassic
|An artist's illustration of Carnufex carolinensis|
Zanno et al., 2015
| Carnufex carolinensis|
Zanno et al., 2015
Only known by the species Carnufex carolinensis, which means "Carolina butcher", it was described in 2015 by Zanno et al.. It is known from the holotype skull and skeleton NCSM 51228 and the referred humerus NCSM 21623.
Since Carnufex is known from most regions of the skeleton, a lot is known about the animal. The species measured approximately 3 metres (10 feet) in length, though it may have grown larger since the holotype specimen was an immature individual.
The skull of Carnufex is notable as it bridges a gap in morphology in early crocodylomorphs. There are also rough areas at the top of the skull, suggesting that the taxon possessed some form of decorative display. Its snout was long and narrow and possessed teeth which were longer and more serrated at the front of the mouth than the back.
Carnufex was also one of the top triassic predators in North America. It would have fed on almost anything it wanted since all the biggest rauisuchians lived in South America or in other parts of North America. Its arms were long and it may have had the ability to move its hand a bit. This would have been advantageous in its life since all the other top predators were quadrupeds and did not have the use of their arms as more than limbs to help it move.
Carnufex, along with another unnamed genus, is a primitive crocodylomorph; far more derived than the members of the family Rauisuchidae.