|“||Proterosuchus. Chasmatosaurs; they are the earliest ancestors of crocodiles and alligators.||„|
|— Allen, describing Chasmatosaurus|
Proterosuchus (name meaning "Early Crocodile") was a genus of chasmatosaur that originated during the Early Triassic period. The earliest relative of crocodilians (alligators and crocodiles), they were dangerous riverside hunters, and are well known from numerous fossils, indicating they were wildly successful in their time. They walked like dinosaurs, and they brought down their prey like crocodiles. They were also longer than some of the modern crocodiles are. Proterosuchus was one of the largest land reptiles during the Early Triassic period.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
As essentially primitive crocodilians, Proterosuchus lived during the Early Triassic Period 250-230 million years ago. This animal died out when the first dinosaurs began to appear. Proterosuchus was discovered and named by Robert Broom in 1903.
Proterosuchus was a large, amphibious archosaur, in fact, the largest land animal on Earth during the early Triassic period in Antarctica, but in modern terms it was only a little bigger than a Komodo Dragon, measuring over 10 feet (3 m) long. It resembled modern day crocodilians, such as gharials; it had slim jaws lined with sharp teeth, long legs in comparison to modern crocodilians, and lacked the rough scales. It had a striped and relatively flat tail. Proterosuchus was light green with a white underbelly and dark green stripes on the tail.
With long jaws, powerful neck muscles, relatively long legs and a lengthy tail, it already looked a bit like a crocodile, and in fact did have a lifestyle that is broadly similar to the Nile crocodile of modern day Africa. The long, muscular tail of the Proterosuchus was excellent for swimming, and could push it through the water at speed. The jaws of Proterosuchus were strong and were lined with sharp teeth used to grip onto prey. At the tip of the top jaw was a curvature.
This curvature had slightly long and sharper teeth. This adaptation helped this creature to clamp onto prey without it straying away. Proterosuchus also had rather long legs compared to other crocodilians or crocodilian-esque creature. However, its legs were also stout and that enabled it to walk comfortably on land. Additionally, these legs were not used for chasing. They were rather used for easier mobility on land and for better swimming abilities under water.
Behavior & Traits Edit
Like all crocodiles, Proterosuchus mainly lived in water and sometimes came onto the bank to bask. Unlike most crocodiles, Proterosuchus was a social animal. However, they didn't normally gather in large numbers.
During the seasonal Lystrosaurus migrations, Proterosuchus served as a major threat to the herd as well as the water. When a Lystrosaurus herd had to cross a river, the resident archosaurs would take advantage of the situation and would attack as many animals as possible. With its power and the conditions, the attacks performed were often fatal. The Proterosuchus would feed on the festering corpses after the remaining Lystrosaurus had left.