Name Champsosaurus
Order Choristodera
Period Cretacous to Eocene
Location North America, Europe
Diet Carnivore
Size 2.5 meters (8 feet 4 inches)

Champsosaurus is a Choristoderan Sauropsid from late Cretaceous to Eocene North America and Europe. They were not very large but they were fairly successful.


A typical Champsosaurus would have weighed about 50 or 60 pounds and measure between 5 and 8 feet in length, or 1.5 to 2.5 meters. Champsosaurus vaguely resembled a gharial and, like gharials, it was primarily aquatic, catching fish with its long, tooth-lined jaws. It probably swam with lateral body movements, pinning its limbs against its body to increase its streamline, just like crocodiles and the Marine Iguana. Behind the eyes, Champsosaurus skull was very wide, where powerful jaw muscles were attached. It was so specialised to life in the water that only females could come ashore to lay eggs, while males could not move on land.


Its fossils have been found in North America (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming) and Europe (Belgium and France), dating from the Upper Cretaceous to the mid Eocene. Its name means "crocodile lizard"; "Champso-" was taken from an Ancient Greek author's statement that "The Egyptians call the crocodiles χαμψαι [champsae]." Possible Champsosaurus teeth have been found in East Timor, making them exceptional in being the only gondwannan and australasian choristoderes known.

In popular culture

  • Champsosaurus 1st appeared in the Disney interactive game version of Disney’s DINOSAUR. PS1 & PS2.
  • It will appear in the upcoming game Saurian.
  • Champsosaurus appeared in the book series Dinosaur Cove.



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