Temporal range: Triassic
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Phytosauria
Family: Parasuchidae
Genus: Rutiodon
  • R. carolinensis
  • R. manhattanensis
Type species
Rutiodon carolinensis

Rutiodon is an extinct genus of large parasuchid phytosaur from the Late Triassic Period. It was one of the largest and deadliest predators of its time, and was aquatic as well, like modern crocodiles. The type species is R. carolinensis, but has a second species named R. manhattanensis.

It disappeared around 200 million years ago, when the dinosaurs first started to take over. It most likely went extinct from an asteroid that also wiped out the last of the primitive synapsids and thecodonts. It was discovered and named by Ebenezer Emmons in 1856.


Rutiodon was large and resembled a crocodilian in appearance and lifestyle, growing to a maximum of 20 feet (6 meters) long, and was equipped with powerful jaws, designed to kill prey with a single bite. It lived in murky rivers and swamps, and was most likely an ambush predator. It lied in wait until its prey came to take a drink, and would jump out, grab ahold of it, and if the initial bite didn't kill the prey item, Rutiodon would drown its prey until it was dead, then eat it. It had a long tail, designed for swimming, and four short, stocky legs, not much good on land. It may have fed on early dinosaurs like Coelophysis, Plateosaurus and Riojasaurus, and other archosaurs like the heavily armored aetosaur Desmatosuchus. Unlike modern-day crocs, though, Rutiodon's nostril were far up on its snout, almost up by where its eyes are.

In the Media[]

  • Rutiodon was featured in the famous documentary When Dinosaurs Roamed America, and attacked a Coelophysis and Desmatosuchus.
  • It was also in Animal Armageddon, and was shown how it went extinct by volcanic activity, and was overrun by the dinosaurs.
  • In the episode "The Amazing Three Horn Girl" from The Land Before Time (TV Series) Rutiodons were the only belly Draggers from the TV Series.








Animal Armageddon

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When Dinosaurs Roamed America Rutiodon

When Dinosaurs Roamed America