Purussaurus brasilensis
Giant caiman skull
Name Purussaurus brasilensis
Order Crocodylia
Class Alligatoridae
Name Translation Purus Lizard (Named after the Purus River)
Period Late Miocene
Diet Large Animals
Length 10-10.9 meters (33-36 feet) long, 5-6.2 tons

Purussaurus is one of the largest known of the giant crocodilians, perhaps even surpassing Sarcosuchus in size. It reigned supreme in central South America in the Miocene period, 8 million years ago. Like most of the other known crocodilian/crocodylimorph species, Purussaurus would have easily been capable of tackling large prey. Purussaurus also noted by its sheer; immense bite force and size.


As the monster caiman of the Miocene, Purussaurus had a very stout, robust head that included large, sharp teeth suited for gripping and holding onto struggling prey. This giant is known from skull material found in throughout north-central South America. Paleontologists estimated Purussaurus brasiliensis to be up to 10.9 m (36 ft)


Jurassic World Alive Purussaurus

Relation with other giant crocodiles

Purussaurus is one of the last of the giant, extinct crocodiles. As a large caiman, its skull is much more robust than the other giant crocodiles. Though other crocodilians have obtained greater or equal sizes, as they are Deinosuchus, Sarcosuchus, Gryposuchus, Mourasuchus, Rhamphosuchus, and Stomatosuchus.


220px-Purussaurus BW

Restoration of Purussaurus brasiliensis

Brazilian P. brasiliensis is associated with sharks, rays, freshwater teleosts,lungfish, turtles including Stupendemys, crocodilians including Charactosuchus, Gryposuchus, and MourasuchusAnhinga birds, and mammals including sloths, bats, rodents, the primate Stirtonia, and river dolphins. River, floodplain, and lake environments were present.[5] Marine and freshwater fish, turtles, crocodilians, and terrestrial and aquatic mammals are associated with Venezuelan P. mirandai. Its environment is described as tropical and coastal. The earlier Colombian P. neivensis lived alongside a massive variety of fauna, including astrapotheres like Granastrapotherium and Xenastrapotherium, the early species of Mourasuchus and Gryposuchus, and the terrestrial crocodyliform Langstonia. This fauna dates from 13 million years ago, in the Laventan stage of the Late Miocene.[1] The Purussaurus was likely the dominant Apex Predator of its environment.


Purussaurus attacking Stupendemys, a large prehistoric turtle

In popular culture

  • Purussaurus appeared in the documentary series called Paleoworld where it was greatly oversized.



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