Temporal range: Late Triassic
|An artist's illustration of Saurosuchus galilei|
Saurosuchus (Lizard Crocodile) was a large carnivorous paracrocodylomorph that grew to over 7 metres (23 ft) long. It was the second largest rauisuchian, ever only behind the less well known Fasolasuchus, as it is larger than its North American cousin Postosuchus. Like most of the other rauisuchians, Saurosuchus walked on four erect legs like the later dinosaurs and mammals. It was at the top of the food chain of its area, in Argentina during the late Triassic period. It was one of the largest South American predators of the Triassic so it could have killed nearly anything in its area.
Saurosuchus did not have legs that were that strong so it would have been restricted to a pace that was around the same as a human's. It would have been able to accelerate for only a short amount of time due to its weight, cold bloodedness and having legs that were not too good at running. This would have enabled it to grow to bigger sizes however because animals that don't need to move fast do not need to be light and fragile like cheetahs. This slow paced lifestyle would have allowed it to get weighted body parts and limbs so it might not have been fast but it would have been sturdy.
Saurosuchus' massive neck supported a head that would be very similar to a scaled down T. rex skull. This would have given it a tremendous bite force that would be comparable to today's big biters like alligators. Its tail was long, sturdy and weighted which might have supported it when it reared up to face rivals or deliver a killing blow to it prey. It had rows of osteoderms running down its back from its head to the very tip of its tail which would have given it some protection from dangerous prey or other Saurosuchus. Unlike most future Crocodylomorphs, Saurosuchus had a laterally compressed skull and large conical teeth. Another Crocodylomorphs with a skull like this is called Sebecus which had a very similar laterally compressed skull.
Saurosuchus' only enemies would have been others of its' species. It might have engaged in combat similar to today's large carnivores like bears, lions and crocodiles. Seeing as it had small limbs and could not rear up for very long, it would have primarily used its massive jaws to fight other predators or other members of its own species. This would not have resulted in death since it was protected by its armour and most modern carnivores do not fight to the death including its close relatives the crocodilians.
Its lifespan would have been fairly long considering it was cold blooded and its modern relatives the crocodilians live over 100 years. This would have meant that Saurosuchus would have learnt skills and got experience that younger Saurosuchus did not have so it might have been able to tackle tricky prey like large dicynodonts and maybe smaller carnivores. This would have also resulted in it accumulating lots or scars and wounds over the years.