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Crocodylomorpha (crocodiles and extinct relatives)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia >  Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauriformes > Archosauria > Pseudosuchia > Suchia > Paracrocodylomorpha > Loricata


Based on a number of sources including Fiorelli and Calvo (2007), Nesbitt (2011), Brochu (2011), Buscalioni et al. (2011), de Andrade et al. (2011), Nascimento and Zaher (2011), Pol and Powell (2011), and Soto et al. (2011). Information has also been obtained from Wikipedia but the content below does not always match Wikipedia because of more recent findings or alternative perspectives.  The icon after a word hyperlinks to the relevant page in Wikipedia. '#' indicates the taxon is known only from fossils, with no living representatives.

# basal Crocodylomorpha

[Late Triassic to Late Jurassic: 228 - 146 million years ago]

Included here are the genera previously placed in the Sphenosuchia , which existed from about 210 to 153 million years ago during the Triassic and Jurassic periods. It seems fairly clear now from analyses of Nesbitt (2011) and others, that the Crocodyliformes evolved from within the Sphenosuchia, thus rendering the latter paraphyletic. Unlike modern crocodiles, the legs of these basal crocodylomorphs were long but with forelimbs generally much shorter than the hindlimbs, indicating bipedalism or facultative bipedalism in at least some species. The extinct, fossil genera include: Pseudhesperosuchus , Trialestes (Argentina ); Dibothrosuchus , Junggarsuchus , Phyllodontosuchus (China); Dyoplax , Saltoposuchus , Terrestrisuchus (Europe); Litargosuchus , Pedeticosaurus , Sphenosuchus (South Africa);  Dromicosuchus , Hallopus , Hesperosuchus , Kayentasuchus , Macelognathus , Parrishia , Redondavenator (USA). The South African species include Litargosuchus leptorhynchus, Pedeticosaurus leviseuri and Sphenosuchus acutus, all based on fossils collected in the Elliot and Clarens formations of the Drakensberg.




# basal Crocodyliformes

Includes some of the genera in what used to be called the "Parasuchia". The remaining genera in the old Parasuchia now fall in the basal Mesoeucrocodylia.


# Orthosuchus

[Early Jurassic: 199 - 176 million years ago]

Orthosuchus stormbergi, described by Nash (1968) from Lesotho (Early Jurassic, 200-176 million years ago).


# Gobiosuchidae

[Late Cretaceous: 100 - 66 million years ago]

Includes two genera, Gobiosuchus and Zaraasuchus , both known from fossils collected from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia (Late Cretaceous, 100-65 million years ago).


# Protosuchidae

[Early Jurassic to Early Cretaceous: xxx]

Extinct, fossil genera include: Protosuchus (South Africa, USA, Canada, Antarctica); Hemiprotosuchus (Argentina); Dianosuchus , Edentosuchus (China) and Notochampsa (South Africa). The species recorded from South Africa are: Notochampsa istedana from the Upper Elliot Formation and the Lower Clarens Formation in the Drakensberg, and Protosuchus haughtoni.




# basal Mesoeucrocodylia

[Middle Jurassic to Late Cretaceous: 176 to 65 million years ago]


# miscellaneous genera

Neuquensuchus (Argentina); Hsisosuchus , Shantungosuchus , Sichuanosuchus (China) and Zosuchus (Mongolia).


# Shartegosuchidae

[Late Jurassic: xxx]

Extinct, fossil genera include: Adzhosuchus , Nominosuchus , Shartegosuchus (Mongolia);  and Fruitachampsa (USA).


# Metasuchia


# Neosuchia


# basal Neosuchia


# unplaced genera

Bernissartia (Belgium and Spain); Itasuchus (Brazil); Gilchristosuchus (Canada); Rugosuchus (China) and Shamosuchus (Mongolia).


# Tethysuchia


# Pholidosauridae

[Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous: xxx]

This family is considered as polyphyletic by de Andrada et al. (2011) whereas Fortior et al. (2011) considered it monophyletic. De Andrada pulled out the genera  Sarcosuchus, Elosuchus and Vectisuchus as monophyletic and belonging to the family Eloidae. In the interests of simplicity, I have followed Fortior et al. (2011). Pholidosaurids existed from the Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous , with most of the fossils found in Early Cretaceous rocks. Genera include: Crocodilaemus , Oceanosuchus (France); Pholidosaurus (Germany and UK); Anglosuchus , Vectisuchus (UK); Elosuchus (Morocco, Algeria and Niger); Sarcosuchus , Stolokrosuchus (Niger); Meridiosaurus (Uruguay); and Terminonaris (USA and Canada). Sarcosuchus imperator was one of the largest crocodiles that ever lived, reaching about 12 m in length and weighing about 8 metric tons (8000 kg).


# Dyrosauridae

[Late Cretaceous to Eocene: xxx]

Extinct, fossil genera include: Congosaurus (Angola and North Africa); Guarinisuchus , Hyposaurus (Brazil); Acherontisuchus , Cerrejonisuchus (Colombia); Chenanisuchus , Tilemsisuchus (Mali); Arambourgisuchus , Atlantosuchus (Morocco); Rhabdognathus , Sokotosuchus (Nigeria); Dyrosaurus (North Africa); Phosphatosaurus (Tunisia and Mali).


# Thalattosuchia


# Metriorhynchidae

[Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous: xxx]



[Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous: xxx]

Genera include: Purranisaurus (Chile and Argentina), Suchodus (England and France), Neptunidraco (Italy), Torvoneustes (UK), Dakosaurus (UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Russia, Argentina, Mexico), and Geosaurus (Western Europe).



[Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous: xxx]

Genera include: Gracilineustes (UK, France), Metriorhynchus (UK, France, Germany), Cricosaurus (UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico), Rhacheosaurus (Germany).


# Teleosauridae

[Early Jurassic to Early Cretaceous: xxx]

Genera include: Machimosaurus (France, Austria, UK, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland); Peipehsuchus (China), Pelagosaurus (Western Europe), Platysuchus (Germany), Steneosaurus (UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Morocco), Teleosaurus (Europe).


# Atoposauridae

[Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous: xxx]

Genera include: Theriosuchus (Europe, Asia); Alligatorellus , Atoposaurus (France, Germany); Alligatorium (Germany, Mongolia); Karatausuchus (Kazakhstan); Montsecosuchus (Spain); Pachycheilosuchus (USA).


# Goniopholidae

[Early Jurassic to Late Cretaceous: xxx]

Genera include: Amphicotylus , Calsoyasuchus , Denazinosuchus , Eutretauranosuchus (USA); Goniopholis (North America, Europe, Asia); Nannosuchus (UK); Siamosuchus (Thailand); Sunosuchus (China, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand).


# Stomatosuchidae

[Late Cretaceous: xxx]

Genera include: Laganosuchus (Niger, Morocco); and Stomatosuchus (Egypt).


# Eusuchia


# basal Eusuchia

Genera include: Isisfordia (Australia); Susisuchus (Brazil); Planocrania (China); Pristichampsus (China, Germany, India, Spain, USA); Acynodon (France, Spain, Italy, Slovenia; previously in Alligatoroidea); Borealosuchus (North America); Allodaposuchus (Spain, Romania, France).


# Aegyptosuchidae

Genera include: Aegyptosuchus (Egypt); Aegisuchus (Morocco).


# Hylaeochampsidae

Genera include: Iharkutosuchus (Hungary); Pietraroiasuchus (Italy); Hylaeochampsa (UK); Pachycheilosuchus (USA).




# basal Gavialoidea

Genera include: Eosuchus (France, USA); Argochampsa (Morocco); Thoracosaurus (North America, Europe); Eothoracosaurus (USA).



One living genus and species, Gavialis gangeticus (Gharial, Indian gavial) , which is native to India. Fossil gavialids date back to the Late Palaeocene and include: Eogavialis (Egypt, Kenya); Ikanogavialis (Venezuela); Piscogavialis (Peru); Aktiogavialis (Puerto Rico); Gryposuchus (Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru); and Siquisiquesuchus (Venzuela).






basal Crocodyloidea

Genera include: Asiatosuchus (Russia, Belgium, France, Germany, Mongolia);  Brachyuranochampsa , Prodiplocynodon (USA).





One living genus and species: Tomistoma schlegelii (False gharial) , which is a freshwater crocodile native to Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Sumatra and Borneo. Extinct, fossil genera include: Kentisuchus (UK); Gavialosuchus (North America, Europe); and Dollosuchoides (Belgium).


# Mekosuchinae

Extinct, fossil genera from Australia: Australosuchus , Baru , Harpacochampsa , Kambara , Mekosuchus , Pallimnarchus , Quinkana ,  and Trilophosuchus . In addition the fossil genus Volia has been recorded from Fiji.



The genus Crocodylus is represented by 12 living species, and three extinct species. The only living species of crocodile occurring in southern Africa is Crocodylus niloticus (Nile crocodile). There are also the living species Mecistops cataphractus (African slender-snouted crocodile; previously Crocodylus cataphractus) and Osteolaemus tetraspis (Dwarf crocodile) , which both occur in West Africa and western Central Africa. In addition there are the following extinct genera in the Crocodylinae: Rimasuchus (Kenya, Middle East from Early Miocene to Early Pleistocene); and Voay (Madagascar, from Late Pleistocene to Recent).


Alligatoroidea (alligators, caimans and extinct relatives)

The alligators (family: Alligatoridae > subfamily: Alligatorinae) were once a diverse group of 13 genera distributed over what is now North America, Europe and Asia but only one living genus, Alligator, remains with Alligator mississipiensis (American alligator) in North America and Alligator sinensis (Chinese alligator) in China. The caimans (family: Alligatoridae > subfamily Caimaninae) also have a diverse history, within Central and South America; there are five living species in three genera. 


# basal Alligatoroidea

Genera include: Leidyosuchus (Canada); Diplocynodon (Europe); Baryphracta (Germany); Deinosuchus (USA, Mexico).




# basal Globidonta

Genera include: Albertochampsa , Stangerochampsa (Canada); Brachychampsa (USA, Canada).





There are two living species of the genus Alligator , Alligator mississippiensis (American alligator) and Alligator sinensis (Chinese alligator) , and four extinct species dating back to the Oligocene.

In addition, there are the following extinct, fossil genera in the Alligatorinae: Arambourgia , Hassiacosuchus (Europe);  Procaimanoidea (North America); Ceratosuchus , Navajosuchus , Wannaganosuchus (USA); Allognathosuchus (USA, Argentina, Europe).



Living species (all native to South America): Caiman (3 living species and one extinct species), Melanosuchus niger (Black caiman) and Paleosuchus (2 species). In addition there are the following extinct, fossil genera: Eocaiman , Necrosuchus , Mourasuchus (South America); Orthogenysuchus , Tsoabichi (USA).


# Peirosauridae

Genera include: Barcinosuchus , Lomasuchus (Argentina); Montealtosuchus , Peirosaurus , Pepesuchus , Uberabasuchus (Brazil); Mahajangasuchus (Madagascar); Hamadasuchus (Morocco); Anatosuchus (Niger).


# Notosuchia


# basal Notosuchia


unplaced genera

Genera include: Comahuesuchus , Notosuchus (Argentina); Candidodon , Labidiosuchus , Mariliasuchus , Morrinhosuchus (Brazil); Libycosuchus (Egypt); Simosuchus (Madagascar); Malawisuchus (Malawi); Pakasuchus (Tanzania).


# Uruguaysuchidae

Genera include: Uruguaysuchus (Uruguay); and Araripesuchus (South America, Madagascar, Niger)


# Sphagesauridae

Genera include: Adamantinasuchus , Yacarerani (Bolivia); Armadillosuchus , Caipirasuchus , Caryonosuchus , Sphagesaurus (Brazil); Chimaerasuchus (China).


# Sebecosuchia


# basal Sebecosuchia


# unplaced genera

Genera include: Cynodontosuchus , Pehuenchesuchus (Argentina); Bergisuchus (Germany); Iberosuchus (Portugal, France).


# Baurusuchidae

Genera include: Wargosuchus , Baurusuchus , Campinasuchus , Pissarrachampsa , Stratiosuchus (Brazil); Pabwehshi (Pakistan).


# Sebecidae

Genera include: Lumbrera (where from?); Ayllusuchus , Bretesuchus , Lorosuchus , Sebecus (Argentina); Barinasuchus (Argentina, Venezuela).




  • Brochu CA. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships of Necrosuchus ionensis Simpson, 1937 and the early history of caimanines. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: S228-S256.
  • Buscalioni AD, Piras P, Vullo R, Signore M, Barbera C. 2011. Early eusuchia crocodylomorpha from the vertebrate-rich Plattenkalk of Pietraroia (Lower Albian, southern Apennines, Italy). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: S199-S227.
  • Clark, JM, Sues H-D. 2002. Two new basal crocodylomorph archosaurs from the Lower Jurassic and the monophyly of Sphenosuchia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 136 (1): 77-95.
  • de Andrade MB, Edmonds R, Benton MJ, Schouten R. 2011. A new Berriasian species of Goniopholis (Mesoeucrocodylia, Neosuchia) from England, and a review of the genus. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: S66-S108.
  • Fiorelli LE, Calvo JO. 2007. The first "protosuchian" (Archosauria: Crocodyliformes) from the Cretaceous (Santonian) of Gondwana. Arquivos do Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro 65 (4): 417-459.
  • Nascimento PM, Zaher H. 2011. The skull of the Upper Cretaceous baurusuchid crocodile Baurusuchus albertoi Nascimento & Zaher 2010, and its phylogenetic affinities. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: S116-S131.
  • Nash D. 1968. A crocodile from the Upper Triassic of Lesotho. Journal of Zoology 156(2): 163-179.
  • Nesbitt SJ. 2011. The early evolution of archosaurs: relationships and the origin of major clades. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 352: 1-292.
  • Pol D, Powell JE. 2011. A new sebecid mesoeucrocodylian from the Rio Loro Formation (Palaeocene) of north-western Argentina. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: S7-S36.
  • Soto M, Pol D, Perea D. 2011. A new specimen of Uruguaysuchus aznarezi (Crocodyliformes: Notosuchia) from the middle Cretaceous of Uruguay and its phylogenetic relationships. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: S173-S198.