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Temporal range: Upper Triassic
Mystriosuchus planirostris skull.JPG
Skull of M. planirostris
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Phytosauria
Family: Phytosauridae
Node: Leptosuchomorpha
Subfamily: Pseudopalatinae
Genus: Mystriosuchus
Fraas, 1896
  • M. planirostris (von Meyer, 1863 [originally Belodon planirostris]) (type)
  • M. westphali Hungerbuhler, 2000

Mystriosuchus (meaning "spoon-crocodile")[1] is an extinct genus of phytosaur that lived in the Late Triassic (middle Norian) in Europe. It was first named by Eberhard Fraas in 1896, and includes two species: M. westphali and the type species, M. planirostris.[2]


Restoration from 1914. Oudated due to its more metriorhynchid-like morphology.[3][4]

Mystriosuchus planirostris measured about four metres long (13 ft), according to a complete skeleton which was found in 1995.[3] The postcranial anatomy of the skeleton suggests that Mystriosuchus was more adapted to aquatic life than other known phytosaurs, possessing shorter and more paddle-like limbs as well as a fin as in metriorhynchids and ichthyosaurs,[3][5] while cranial morphology is suggestive of a primarily fish eating diet.[2]


M. westphali skull

Mystriosuchus used to be placed in its own subfamily, Mystriosuchidae,[6][7] but subsequent cladistic analysis grouped it with other members of Pseudopalatinae, despite having several physical differences from most of the genera in this group.[2] Originally considered to be a freshwater genus, a recent specimen from Northern Italy has shown that some Mystriosuchus specimens lived a completely marine life.[3] In their paper on Parasuchus, Christian Kammerer and colleagues noted that Mystriosuchini has priority over Pseudopalatinae, so synonymized Pseudopalatinae with Mystriosuchini.[8]

Below is a cladogram from Stocker (2012):[9]


Wannia scurriensis

Paleorhinus bransoni

"Paleorhinus" sawini


Brachysuchus megalodon


Rutiodon carolinensis

"Machaeroprosopus" zunii

Protome batalaria


"Phytosaurus" doughtyi

TMM 31173-120

Leptosuchus crosbiensis

Leptosuchus studeri

Smilosuchus lithodendrorum

Smilosuchus adamanensis

Smilosuchus gregorii

Pravusuchus hortus


Machaeroprosopus mccauleyi

Mystriosuchus westphali

Machaeroprosopus pristinus


  1. ^ Mystriosuchus planirostris description Retrieved on May 25th, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Hungerbühler, A. 2002. The Late Triassic phylosaur Mystriosuchus westphali, with a revision of the genus. Palaeontology 45(2): 377-418.
  3. ^ a b c d Gozzi, E. & Renesto, S.A. 2003. Complete specimen of Mystriosuchus (Reptilia, Phytosauria) from the Norian (Late Triassic) of Lombardy (Northern Italy). Rivista Italiana Di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 109(3): 475-498.
  4. ^ In The Sea, Diagram Group Infobase Publishing, 01/01/2004 - 113 páginas
  5. ^ In The Sea, Diagram Group Infobase Publishing, 01/01/2004 - 113 páginas
  6. ^ von Huene, F. 1915. On reptiles of the New Mexican Trias in the Cope Collection. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 34: 485-507.
  7. ^ Long, R.A. & Murry, P.A. 1995. Late Triassic (Carnian and Norian) tetrapods from the southwestern United States. Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science 4 ‡254 pp.
  8. ^ Kammerer, C. F., Butler, R. J., Bandyopadhyay, S., Stocker, M. R. (2016), Relationships of the Indian phytosaur Parasuchus hislopi Lydekker, 1885. Papers in Palaeontology, 2: 1–23. doi: 10.1002/spp2.1022
  9. ^ Stocker, M. R. (2012). "A new phytosaur (Archosauriformes, Phytosauria) from the Lot's Wife beds (Sonsela Member) within the Chinle Formation (Upper Triassic) of Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 32 (3): 573–586. doi:10.1080/02724634.2012.649815. 

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