Temporal range: 48.6–3.6 Ma ?Eocene - Early Pliocene
Charactosuchus is an extinct genus of crocodilian. It was assigned to the family Crocodylidae in 1988. Specimens have been found from Colombia, Brazil, Jamaica, and possibly Florida and South Carolina. It was gharial-like in appearance with its long narrow snout but bore no relation to them, being more closely related to modern crocodiles than to gharials.
The type species, C. fieldsi, has been found from the Villavieja Formation of Colombia and dates back to the mid Miocene. It has also been found from the Solimões Formation in Acre State, Brazil, along with C. sansoai, C. fisheri, and C. mendesi (originally assigned to Brasilosuchus). In 1969, a lower jaw of a crocodilian that dated back to the Lutetian stage of the Eocene was found in Saint James Parish, Jamaica, and was described as belonging to a new species of Charactosuchus named C. kugleri. However, this species may be considered synonymous with Dollosuchus, according to later papers. Isolated teeth thought to be from the genus have been found from Florida and South Carolina and are of early Pliocene age. This was thought to be evidence of the interchange between North and South American faunas, with the genus first appearing in North America and then migrating down into Colombia and Brazil. This theory is no longer accepted, although the presence of Charactosuchus from Jamaica may suggest a European origin, with the genus migrating across either the De Geer or Thule land bridges.
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