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Temporal range: Upper Triassic
Mystriosuchus planirostris skull.JPG
Skull of M. planirostris
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Phytosauria
Family: Phytosauridae
Node: Leptosuchomorpha
Subfamily: Pseudopalatinae
Genus: Mystriosuchus
Fraas, 1896

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 (formerly M. plieningeri) and the type species, M. planirostris.[2]


Restoration from 1914

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,[3] while cranial morphology is suggestive of a primarily fish eating diet.[2]


M. westphali skull

Mystriosuchus used to be placed in its own subfamily, Mystriosuchinae,[4][5] however, recent research demonstratred that it belongs to the subfamily 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]

Below is a cladogram from Stocker (2012):[6]


"Paleorhinus" 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


Pseudopalatus mccauleyi

Mystriosuchus westphali

Pseudopalatus 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 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. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.  edit

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