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Paleontology

Take A Look At This: The Giant Extinct Caiman That Bit Harder Than T. Rex

I have always held a fascination regarding dinosaurs, in fact, I shared that love of these creatures with my youngest son when he was only a toddler.

I remember buying him a set of small plastic dinosaurs and we would go into our backyard, lightly cover them with dirt and then pretend to dig them up.

My son learned quite quickly the names of all of the different species (which always amazed me). My hope was, that when he grew up, he would become a Paleontologist and that he would invite me to go on digs with him after he had grown up.

Well, that didn’t happen, but it hasn’t changed my desire to learn all that I could about these amazing extinct creatures.

People don’t think about it too often, but the descendants of dinosaurs can be seen all over the world. These modern day ‘dinosaurs’ are in the form of Crocodiles, the Alligator gar, the Sturgeon, the Komodo Dragon, Alligators and in South America, the Black Caiman.

The video below is about the Purussaurus, specifically the Purussaurus brasiliensis, who is thought to be the ancestor of the Black Caiman.

Here are some facts regarding this amazing predator from the publication AZ Animals:

Purussaurus is one of the largest crocodilians to have ever lived. It is a member of the giant caiman family, which dominated central South America during the Miocene epoch (about eight million years ago). Like other crocodilian species, it could attack large prey and had a massive bite force equivalent to about 7 metric tons. Skulls of this animal were found in Peru, Brazil, northern Venezuela, and other parts of South America.

The Purussaurus is the largest crocodilian and one of the largest reptiles that ever roamed the earth after the extinction of the dinosaurs. There have been three identified species under this genus. Purussaurus brasiliensis was the first recognized species of this reptilian. The other two species are P. neivensis and P. mirandai.

The head of this giant caiman was about 5 feet long, almost as long as the entire body of most caiman species existing today. The robust head had big, sharp teeth, which helped it grip and hold on to its prey. The teeth vary slightly between the species but are generally about 2 inches long and slightly curved backward. The nature of the fossil skull suggests that this animal’s bite force was massive enough to perforate the prey’s bones and shatter their internal organs.

The exact size of the Purussaursus‘ body remains unknown since only the skull fossils have been found. However, the size has been superficially estimated to range from 36–43 feet. There are debates about the full body size of this animal. Some researchers believe it would have been 41 feet long and weighed 8.4 tons. Others estimate it to be 33.8 feet long with a 5.69-ton body mass. The commonly agreed conclusion is that it was a massive animal. The rib structures and other parts of the reptilian’s body are similar to that of the caimans and crocodiles of today.

To continue reading click HERE.

Okay, hopefully I haven’t bored you to death with all of that. If you wish to skip reading, simply click on the video. It’s only 10 minutes long, but it’s a ‘grabber’ and will keep your attention long enough to learn about Purussaurus brasiliensis.

H/T – a-z-animals.com

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