Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Sereno et al., 2003
Anatosuchus ("duck crocodile", the name from the Latin anas ("duck") and the Greek souchos ("crocodile"), for the broad, duck-like snout) is an extinct genus of notosuchian crocodylomorph discovered in Gadoufaoua, Niger, and described by a team of palaeontologists led by the American Paul Sereno in 2003, in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Its duck-like snout coincidentally makes it resemble a crocoduck, an imagined hybrid animal with the head of a crocodile and the body of a duck.
Species and discovery
The type species of Anatosuchus is A. minor, in reference to its small body size. The holotype material (MNN GDF603), is a nearly complete skull with articulated lower jaws. It was discovered from the upper portion of the Elrhaz Formation and lower portion of Echkar Formation, indicating an Early Cretaceous (Late Aptian or Early Albian) age.
In the initial description of Anatosuchus, it formed a clade with Comahuesuchus, within a less inclusve Notosuchia, also found to be monophyletic. However, further work proposed that Anatosuchus is not closely related to Comahuesuchus.
As the specific name indicates, A. minor was a very small crocodylomorph, with an adult body length estimated at around 70 centimeters. It had a very broad, duck-like snout. Despite its appearance it is considered to have a diet of small, aquatic creatures, and to get them it may have waded in water like a heron.
- Sereno PC, Sidor, C.A., Larsson HCE, Gado B. 2003. A new notosuchian from the Early Cretaceous of Niger. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 23 (2): 477-482.
- "BoarCroc, RatCroc, DogCroc, DuckCroc and PancakeCroc". Archived from the original on 2010-01-10.
- "The Crocoduck!".
- Andrade MB, Bertini RJ, Pinheiro AEP. 2006. Observations on the palate and choanae structures in Mesoeucrocodylia (Archosauria, Crocodylomorpha): phylogenetic implications. Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia, Sociedade Brasileira de Paleontologia. 9 (3): 323-332.
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