Temporal range: Early – Middle Triassic
|A restoration of Erythrosuchus africanus|
| †Erythrosuchus africanus|
Erythrosuchus africanus is an Erythrosuchid Archosauriforme from the Middle Triassic of South Africa. It was closely related to the Dinosaurs but was neither a dinosaur nor a Crocodylomorph.
This was the largest Erythrosuchid and one of the largest predators of its time and location. This was because this carnivore could grow up to 5 metres long and weigh around 2 tonnes. This was an extremely large and powerful land carnivore of the Triassic because it was slow and bulky which allows for muscle and thick bone although this means it was not a very fast walker. This would not have impacted on its hunting ability as most of the large herbivores such as Kannemeyeria were not very fast themselves. Those large herbivores would have also been bulky and tough but that would be no match for the large, powerful jaws of the Massive Erythrosuchus. This Erythrosuchid would have to be one of the largest land carnivores of the Triassic alongside Rauisuchians, Early theropods and surviving Therapsids.
Erythrosuchus is known from quite a few skeletons but no complete skeleton is known. The first fragmentary remains of this beast were discovered in South Africa in 1905 by Robert Broom. Robert Broom described this beast from Limbs, Pelix, Shoulders, Skull and some Vertebrae. More complete specimens were unearthed in 1911 which were the foundation for the physical understanding of this species. The scientist who is credited with this is the German paleontologist Friedrich von Huene.
This creature would have been an ambush hunter of its prey although it would be nowhere near as fast as what an ambush would be for a Tiger. This animals would have had a slow metabolism being an early reptile so it would have spent most of its day warming up but when it hunted it would had success most of the time because most of its prey were large Dicynodonts and other Therapsids which would have been slow movers and Erythrosuchus would have been faster than them and as soon as it caught they prey item, it would easily dispatch them with a massive bite to the head and neck. The jaws on this animals made up almost 20% of its length which might be one of the largest head-to-body ratios of all animals. The bite force of Erythrosuchus would have been comparable to that of Crocodiles owing to its huge neck and heavy jaws. This would have made it excellent at eating most of the carcass since its jaws would have made usually inedible parts like bones edible to this animal so this animals would have eaten lots of the kill in one sitting.
There is no evidence to prove this animal hunted socially because nearly all reptiles are solo hunters and it would be no different for this animals and it also had no reason to hunt socially since it was nearly as big as or just as big as most of the prey items of its time and location. This animals might have also used its massive size and strength to scare off smaller carnivores from their kills so it could scavenge it which is the method Bears use when they are looking for meat to eat. It would have scavenged time to time as all carnivores but it would have primarily hunted its own prey.