From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Temporal range: Late Triassic
Nicrosaurus kapffi.JPG
Skull of Nicrosaurus kapffi
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Phytosauria
Family: Phytosauridae
Node: Leptosuchomorpha
Subfamily: Pseudopalatinae
Genus: Nicrosaurus
Fraas, 1866
  • N. kapffi (Meyer, 1861) (type)
  • N. meyeri (Hungerbühler & Hunt, 2000)

Nicrosaurus is an extinct genus of phytosaur reptile. It was of medium size, probably about 2.5 m (8.2 ft).[1] Although it looked and probably lived like a crocodile, it was not closely related to these creatures, instead being a good example of parallel evolution. The main difference between Nicrosaurus (and all other phytosaurs) and real crocodiles was the position of the nostrils - Nicrosaurus's nostrils were placed directly in front of the forehead, whereas in crocodiles, the nostrils are positioned on the end of the snout.

Nicrosaurus skull, from Zittel, 1913
1894 restoration of Belodon, based on the skull of Nicrosaurus and the carapace of Paratypothorax

A recent phylogenetic analysis found that the genera Pseudopalatus, Mystriosuchus, Redondasaurus and Nicrosaurus were pseudopalatines.[2]

Nicrosaurus may have been more terrestrial than other phytosaurs. Occuring in marginal-lacustrine or outrightly terrestrial settings, it bears longer limb bones, a straighter femur and a deeper pelvis than other phytosaurs. Combined with it's unusually deep upper jaw and heterodont teeth, it was most likely a secondarily terrestrial predator, probably not at all dissimilar from terrestrial crocodilymorphs like sebecians.[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Hungerbühler A. 2002. The Late Triassic phytosaur Mystriosuchus westphali, with a revision of the genus. Palaeontology 45 (2): 377-418
  3. ^ Kimmig, J. 2013. Possible secondarily terrestrial lifestyle in the European phytosaur Nicrosaurus kapfii (Late Triassic, Norian): a preliminary study. Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science 61, 306-312.