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Temporal range: Early Triassic
Skull impression of P. nasutus in the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Temnospondyli
Suborder: Stereospondyli
Clade: Capitosauria
Family: Mastodonsauridae
Genus: Parotosuchus
Otschev and Shishkin, 1968
  • P. nasutus (Meyer, 1858)
  • P. helgolandicus (Schröder, 1913)
  • P. haughtoni (Broili & Schröder, 1937)
  • P. oremburgensis (Konzhukova, 1965)
  • P. orientalis (Otschev, 1966)
  • P. panteleevi (Otschev, 1966)
  • P. ptaszynskii Sulej and Niedźwiedzki, 2013
  • P. sequester Lozovsky & Shishkin, 1974
  • P. speleus Mikhail A. Shishkin and Tomasz Sulej, 2009[1]
  • P. komiensis Novikov, 1986
  • Archotosaurus Patton, 1976

Parotosuchus is an extinct genus of capitosaurian temnospondyl within the family Mastodonsauridae. Fossils are known from the Early Triassic of Europe, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. It was about 2 metres (6.6 ft) long and likely lived in aquatic environments such as lakes and rivers. Parotosuchus was covered in a scaly skin, unlike the smooth skin of modern-day amphibians, and probably moved with an eel-like motion in the water.[2]

Life restoration of P. orenburgensis
Life restoration of P. nasutus

Parotosuchus was originally named Parotosaurus. However, the name Parotosaurus was preoccupied by a genus of skinks,[3] and in 1968 the name Parotosuchus was proposed as a replacement.[4] The name Archotosaurus was also proposed as a replacement name in 1976,[5] although the author who proposed this was unaware that Parotosuchus was already in use. Because the name Parotosuchus was erected earlier than Archotosaurus, it has priority.[6]


  1. ^ Mikhail A. Shishkin; and Tomasz Sulej (2009). "The Early Triassic temnospondyls of the Czatkowice 1 tetrapod assemblage" (PDF). paleontologica polonica. 65: 31–77. 
  2. ^ Yahoo News: Antarctic fossil prompts rethink about amphibian history
  3. ^ Linkem, C.W.; Diesmos, A.C.; Brown, R.M. (2010). "A new species of scincid lizard (genus Sphenomorphus) from Palawan Island, Philippines" (PDF). Herpetologica. 66 (1): 67–79. doi:10.1655/08-074.1. 
  4. ^ Kalandadze, N.N.; Ochev, V.G.; Tatarinov, L.P.; Chudinov, P.K.; Shishkin, M.A. (1968). "Catalogue of Permian and Triassic tetrapods of the U.S.S.R.". Upper Paleozoic and Mesozoic Amphibians and Reptiles of the U.S.S.R. Moscow: Nauka. pp. 72–79. 
  5. ^ Patton, R.L. (1976). "A replacement name for Parotosuchus Jaekel (Amphibia: Labyrinthodontia)" (PDF). Palaeontology. 19 (2): 415–416. 
  6. ^ Damiani, R. J. (2001). "Parotosuchus(Amphibia, Temnospondyli) from theCynognathusAssemblage Zone (Early Triassic) of South Africa: Cranial morphology and relationships". Alcheringa: an Australasian Journal of Palaeontology. 25 (4): 351–379. doi:10.1080/03115510108619226. 

Further reading[edit]