Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 85Ma
|Life restoration of Notosuchus terrestris|
Notosuchus (//; 'southern crocodile') is an extinct genus of South American notosuchian crocodylomorph. It was terrestrial, living approximately 85 million years ago in the Coniacian or Santonian stages of the Late Cretaceous.
Notosuchus was relatively small, reaching 1.5 m (5 ft) in length and a weight of 36 kg. Remains have been found in the Bajo de la Carpa Formation in Patagonia, Argentina. First named in 1896, Notosuchus was the first known notosuchian. The type species is N. terrestris. A second species, N. lepidus, was named in 1957.
A paper published in 2008 by Fiorelli and Calvo described new remains of the type species N. terrestris. In it, the authors suggested that the skull would have supported a short trunk, or "hog's snout" as well as fleshy upper and lower lips. The anteriorly directed nares and the absence of a bony nasal septum (which presumably indicates cartilaginous tissue serving its place) provide evidence for a trunk-like snout, while striations on the surface of the nasal bones and the lower jaw most likely acted as attachment points for the nasolabial muscles and the depressor muscle, respectively. Additionally, the authors suggested that a lateral rim on the dentary as well as numerous aligned neurovascular foramina are evidence of soft cheek-like muscular tissue. The function of the trunk was likely used for searching for food by sniffing the ground in a manner similar to extant suids and peccaries, while the cheeks would aid in mastication by preventing food loss.
- Hugo CA, Leanza HA. 2001. Hoja Geológica 3969-IV, General Roca. Provincias de Río Negro y Neuquén. Boletín Servicio Geológico Minero Argentino, Instituto de Geología y Recursos Minerales 308: 1-65.
- Woodward AS. 1896. On Two Mesozoic Crocodilians Notosuchus (Genus Novum) and Cynodontosuchus (Genus Novum) from the Red Sandstone of the Territory of Neuquen (Argentine Republic). Anales del Museuo de la Plata, Paleontologia Argentina 6: 1-20.
- Saez MD. 1957. Crocodiloideos Fosiles Argentinos un nuevo Crocodilo del Mesozoico Argentino. Ameghinana 1-2: 49-50.
- Fiorelli, L. E.; and Calvo, J. O. (2008). "New remains of Notosuchus terrestris Woodward, 1896 (Crocodyliformes: Mesoeucrocodylia) from Late Cretaceous of Neuquen, Patagonia, Argentina". Arquivos do Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro 66 (1): 83–124.
- Fiorelli, L. E. (2005). "Nuevos restos de Notosuchus terrestris Woodward, 1896 (Crocodyliformes: Mesoeucrocodylia) del Cretácico Superior (Santoniano) de la Provincia de Neuquén, Patagonia, Argentina". 79p. Tesis (Grado) Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba.
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