Archeology

Rhamphosuchus Was A Very Large Crocodilian That Was Closely Related To The Modern-Day Gharial

Rhamphosuchus ‭(‬Beak crocodile‭)‬. is thought to have looked like a modern day false gharial,‭ ‬crocodiles that have proportionately thin and long snouts compared to other crocodiles.

‭‬Rhamphosuchus itself however was much larger,‭ ‬although to what extent remains uncertain.‭ ‬

This is because Rhamphosuchus is currently only known from very fragmentary material that makes reconstruction of the skull very difficult.‭

‬This also makes sizing the full animal difficult because crocodiles are usually estimated by the size of their skulls in relation to other living crocodiles that a direct comparison can be drawn from.‭

Early size estimates based upon the available material yielded an upper size between fifteen and eighteen meters long,‭ ‬something that would comfortably class Rhamphosuchus as the largest ever crocodile,‭ ‬up to one and a half times bigger than the famous Sarcosuchus.‭ ‬

However Rhamphosuchus has since been re-studied with more modern techniques along with a broader understanding of crocodile forms,‭ ‬resulting in a smaller estimate of between eight and eleven meters long.‭ ‬

This means that Rhamphosuchus is now considered to be smaller than other giants such as Deinosuchus,‭ ‬Purussaurus and the aforementioned Sarcosuchus.‭ ‬

However Rhamphosuchus was still considerably larger than the largest known crocodiles today.

Like the false gharial,‭ ‬Rhamphosuchus had a narrow snout with multiple teeth for prey capture.‭ ‬

Gharials are usually thought to be piscivorous fish eaters that may also sometimes incorporate other prey.‭

Rhamphosuchus could certainly have done the same,‭ ‬although its larger size meant that larger prey was on the menu.‭ ‬

This does not rule out fish as a food source as we can often see fish that live in warm tropical waters also achieving large sizes in their own right.‭ ‬

It‭’‬s even probable that the emergence and extinction of Rhamphosuchus occurred with a specialisation in large prey that subsequently disappeared.

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