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Temporal range: Miocene
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Alligatoridae
Subfamily: Caimaninae
Genus: Mourasuchus
Price, 1964
  • M. amazonensis Price, 1964
  • M. atopus Langston, 1966
  • M. arendsi Bocquentin-Villanueva, 1984
  • M. pattersoni Cidade et al., 2017


  • Nettosuchidae Langston, 1965


  • Caraindasuchus Gasparini, 1985
  • Nettosuchus Langston, 1965

Mourasuchus is an extinct genus of giant crocodilian from the Miocene of South America. The skull has been described as duck like, being broad, flat and very elongate, closely resembling what is seen in Stomatosuchus, an unrelated crocodilian that may also have had a large gular sac similar to those of pelicans or baleen whales.[1] Mourasuchus had rows of small, conical teeth numbering around 40 on each side of the upper and lower jaws.[2] Mourasuchus presumably obtained its food by filter feeding; the jaws were too gracile for the animal to have captured larger prey. It also probed the bottoms of lakes and rivers for food. Fossils have been found in the Fitzcarrald Arch of Peru, where it coexisted with many other crocodilians, including the giant gharial, Gryposuchus, and the alligatorid Purussaurus, both of which were 12 m. The great diversity of crocodylomorphs in this Miocene-age (Tortonian stage, 8 million years ago) wetland suggests that niche partitioning was efficient, which would have limited interspecific competition.[3]


The type species of Mourasuchus is M. amazonensis, named in 1964.[4] Another species, M. atopus, was named after having been initially assigned to its own genus, Nettosuchus, a year later in 1965.[5][2] The latter species has a longer and narrower skull than the type species. A third species, N. nativus, was named in 1985,[6] but it was considered a junior synonym of M. arendsi by Scheyer & Delfino (2016).[7] A fourth species, M. pattersoni, was described by Cidade et al. (2017).[8]


  1. ^ Brochu, C. A. (1999). "Phylogenetics, Taxonomy, and Historical Biogeography of Alligatoroidea". Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Memoir. 6: 9–100. doi:10.2307/3889340. JSTOR 3889340. 
  2. ^ a b Langston, W. (1966). "Mourasuchus Price, Nettosuchus Langston, and the family Nettosuchidae (Reptilia: Crocodilia)". Copeia. 1966 (4): 882–885. doi:10.2307/1441424. JSTOR 1441424. 
  3. ^ Salas-Gismondi, R., Antoine, P. O., Baby, P., Brusset, S., Benammi, M., Espurt, N., de Franceschi, D., Pujos, F., Tejada, J. and Urbina, M. (2007). Middle Miocene crocodiles from the Fitzcarrald Arch, Amazonian Peru. In: Díaz-Martínez, E. and Rábano, I. (eds.), 4th European Meeting on the Palaeontology and Stratigraphy of Latin America Cuadernos del Museo Geominero, nº 8. Instituto Geológico y Minero de España, Madrid.
  4. ^ Price, L. I. (1964). "Sôbre o crânio de um grande crocodilídeo extinto do alto Rio Juruá, Estado do Acre". An. Acad. Brasileira Ciên. 36 (1): 59–66. 
  5. ^ 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. University of California Press. pp. 1-152.
  6. ^ Gasparini, Z. B. (1985). "Un nuevo cocodrilo (Eusuchia) Cenozoico de América del Sur". Coletânea de Trabalhos Paleontológicos do IIX Congresso Brasileiro de Paleontologia, MME-DNPM. 27: 51–53. 
  7. ^ Scheyer TM, Delfino M. 2016. The late Miocene caimanine fauna (Crocodylia: Alligatoroidea) of the Urumaco Formation, Venezuela. Palaeontologia Electronica 19.3.48A:1-57
  8. ^ Cidade, G. M.; Solórzano, A.; Rincón, A. D.; Riff, D.; Hsiou, A.S. A new Mourasuchus (Alligatoroidea, Caimaninae) from the late Miocene of Venezuela, the phylogeny of Caimaninae and considerations on the feeding habits of Mourasuchus. PeerJ, v. 5, p. e3056, 2017. DOI:10.7717/peerj.3056.