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Temporal range: 48.6–3.6 Ma
 ?Eocene - Early Pliocene
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Crocodylidae
Genus: Charactosuchus
Langston, 1965
  • C. fieldsi Langston, 1965 (type)
  • C. fisheri
  •  ?C. kugleri Berg, 1969
  • C. sansoai Souza Filho, 1991
  • C. mendesi Souza Filho and Bocquentin, 1989
  • Brasilosuchus Souza Filho and Bocquentin, 1989

Charactosuchus is an extinct genus of crocodilian. It was assigned to the family Crocodylidae in 1988.[1] 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.[2]


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,[3] along with C. sansoai,[4] C. fisheri,[5] and C. mendesi (originally assigned to Brasilosuchus[6]). 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.[7][8] However, this species may be considered synonymous with Dollosuchus, according to later papers.[9] Isolated teeth thought to be from the genus have been found from Florida and South Carolina and are of early Pliocene age.[10] 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.[11] This theory is no longer accepted,[12] 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.[13]


  1. ^ Carroll, R. L.(1988). Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. WH Freeman and Company, New York ISBN 0-7167-1822-7
  2. ^ Langston, W. (1965). "Fossil crocodilians from Colombia and the Cenozoic history of the Crocodilia in South America". University of California Publications in Geological Sciences. 52: 1–169. 
  3. ^ Cozzuol, M. A. (2006). "The Acre vertebrate fauna: Age, diversity, and geography". Journal of South American Earth Sciences. 21 (3): 185–203. doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2006.03.005. 
  4. ^ Souza Filho, J. P. (1991). Charactosuchus sansaoi, uma nova espécie de Crocodilidae (Crocodylia) do Neógeno do Estado o Acre, Brasil. Actas do XII Congreso Brasileiro de Paleontologia, 36.
  5. ^ Bocquentin, Jean; Melo, Janira (2006). "Stupendemys souzai sp. nov. (Pleurodira, Podocnemididae) from the Miocene-Pliocene of the Solimões Formation, Brazil". Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia. 9 (2): 187–192. doi:10.4072/rbp.2006.2.02. 
  6. ^ Souza Filho, J.P.; Bocquentin, J. (1989). "Brasilosuchus mendensi n.g., n.sp., um novo representante da familia Gavialidae do Neógeno do Estado do Acre, Brasil". Anais do XI Congresso Brasileiro de Paleontologia. 1: 457–463. 
  7. ^ Donovan, S. K.; Domning, D. P.; Garcia, F. A.; Dixon, H. L. (1990). "A bone bed from the Eocene of Jamaica". Journal of Paleontology. 64: 660–662. 
  8. ^ Portell, R. W., Donovan, S. K., and Domning, D. P. (2001). Early Tertiary vertebrate fossils from seven Rivers, Parish of St. James, Jamaica, and their biogegraphical implications. Biogeography of the West Indies 191-200
  9. ^ Domning, D. P. and Clark, J. M. (1993). Jamaican Tertiary marine Vertebrata. In: R.M. Wright and E. Robinson (eds.), Biostratigraphy of Jamaica. Geolog− ical Society of America Memoir 182:413–415.
  10. ^ Webb, S.D.; Tessman, N. (1967). "Vertebrate evidence of a low sea level in the middle Pliocene". Science. 156 (3773): 379. doi:10.1126/science.156.3773.379. PMID 17812382. 
  11. ^ Estes, R. and Báez, A. (19850. Herpetofaunas of North and South America during the Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic: evidence for interchange? In: F.G. Stehli and S.D. Webb (eds.), The Great American Biotic Interchange, 139–197. Plenum Press, New York.
  12. ^ Langston, W. and Gasparini, Z. (1997). Crocodilians, Gryposuchus and the South American gavials. In: R.F. Kay, R.H. Madden, R.L. Cifelli, and J. Flynn (eds.), Vertebrate Paleontology in the Neotropics. The Miocene fauna of La Venta, Colombia, 113–154. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
  13. ^ Agustí, J. and Antón, B. 2002. Mammoths, Sabretooths and Hominids: 65 Million Years of Mammalian Evolution in Europe. 313 pp. Columbia Univ. Press, New York.

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