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Temporal range: Paleocene–Middle Eocene
Diplocynodon ratelii.JPG
Diplocynodon ratelii
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Crocodilia
Subfamily: Diplocynodontinae
Genus: Diplocynodon
Pomel, 1847
  • D. dalpiazi Del Favero, 1999
  • D. darwini (Ludvig, 1877)
  • D. elavericus Martin, 2010
  • D. gervaisi
  • D. hantoniensis (Wood, 1846)
  • D. muelleri (Kälin, 1936)
  • D. ratelii Pomel, 1847 (type)
  • D. tormis
  • D. ungeri (Prangner, 1845)
  • ?D. deponiae (Frey, Laemmert & Riess, 1987)[1]

Diplocynodon is an extinct genus of alligatoroid that lived during the Paleocene to middle Eocene 49 million years ago in Europe. It looked very similar to the modern caiman in that it was small and had bony armour scutes covering its neck, back, belly, and tail. The longest Diplocynodon recovered was 4 feet in length and probably fed on fish, animal flesh, and took insects when young.

In the nineteenth century, D. steineri was named from Styria, Austria and D. styriacus was named from Austria and France. A third Austrian species, Enneodon ungeri, was placed in its own genus. The Austrian and French species of Diplocynodon were synonymized with E. ungeri in 2011, and because the name Diplocynodon has priority over Enneodon, the species is now called D. ungeri. [2]

Well preserved specimens have been found in the Messel Pit in Germany. In the Eocene epoch, the pit was a swampy freshwater lake that was perfect for preserving fossils due to anoxic conditions at its bottom.


Species Age Location Unit Notes Images

D. dalpiazi

Late Rupelian



D. darwini from Messel pit, Hesse, Germany, 48 million years old
Skull of D. hantoniensis
Diplocynodon cf. ratelii

D. darwini



Messel pit

All specimens are from Messel pit of Germany. Synonyms are: D. ebertsi and D. hallense.

D. elavericus[3]

Middle Priabonian



All specimens came from Allier, Massif Central of France.

D. gervaisi

Earliest Rupelian



Synonyms are: Saurocainus gervaisi.

D. hantoniensis

Early Priabonian

 United Kingdom

Headon Hill Formation

All specimens came from Hordwell, southern England. D. cf. hantoniensis is known from the Oligocene of Dordogne, France.

D. muelleri[4]

Middle Rupelian


El Talladell

More than 100 are known, all from Lleida Province, Catalonia. Synonyms are: Hispanochampsa muelleri, D. guerini and D. marini.

D. ratelii



D. ratelii is the type species of Diplocynodon. Most of the specimens came from Allier, Massif Central of France. Synonyms are: D. gracile.

D. tormis

Late Bartonian



D. ungeri[2]

Middle Miocene

Synonyms are: Enneodon ungeri, D. steineri, and D. styriacus (see text).

*Locality and/or horizon of the type specimen.


Cladogram based on Martin, 2010:[3]







D. darwini

D. hantoniensis

D. ratelii

D. elavericus

D. muelleri

D. tormis


  1. ^ a b Massimo Delfino and Thierry Smith (2012). "Reappraisal of the morphology and phylogenetic relationships of the middle Eocene alligatoroid Diplocynodon deponiae (Frey, Laemmert, and Riess, 1987) based on a three-dimensional specimen". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 32 (6): 1358–1369. doi:10.1080/02724634.2012.699484. 
  2. ^ a b Jeremy E. Martin and Martin Gross (2011). "Taxonomic clarification of Diplocynodon Pomel, 1847 (Crocodilia) from the Miocene of Styria, Austria". Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie - Abhandlungen. 261 (2): 177–193. doi:10.1127/0077-7749/2011/0159. 
  3. ^ a b Jeremy E. Martin (2010). "A new species of Diplocynodon (Crocodylia, Alligatoroidea) from the Late Eocene of the Massif Central, France, and the evolution of the genus in the climatic context of the Late Palaeogene". Geological Magazine. 147: 596–610. doi:10.1017/S0016756809990161. 
  4. ^ Paolo Pirasa and Angela D. Buscalionib (2006). "Diplocynodon muelleri comb. nov., an Oligocene diplocynodontine alligatoroid from Catalonia (Ebro Basin, Lleida Province, Spain)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 26 (3): 608–620. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2006)26[608:DMCNAO]2.0.CO;2. 
  • Fossils (Smithsonian Handbooks) by David Ward (Page 243)

External links[edit]