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Temporal range: Late Permian
Rhinesuchus BW.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Temnospondyli
Suborder: Stereospondyli
Family: Rhinesuchidae
Genus: Rhinesuchus

Rhinesuchus is a large temnospondyl amphibian. Fossil remains of the genus are known from the Permian of the South African Karoo Basins Tapinocephalus and Cistecephalus assemblage zones, both of the Beaufort Group.

Skull in Karoo

The skull on Rhinesuchus had a flat triangular shape with blunt snout similar to some of the other large amphibians and had a palate filled with small sharp teeth suggesting that it hunted fish. Also, the small eyes were on top of the head suggesting that it approached its prey from below.

It is a popular misconception that Rhinesuchus is named after the Rhine River in Europe, but Rhinesuchus actually gets its name from the Greek word for nose. Two more species, R. africanus and R. wadiai, are considered to be nomen dubium, while others have been found to be other species. At the time of writing only R.broomianus and R. capensis are recognised.


  • S. H. Haughton. 1925. Investigations in South African fossil reptiles and amphibians (Part 13). Annals of the South African Museum 22:227-261
  • R. Schoch and A. R. Milner. 2000. Stereospondyli. Handbuch der Paläoherpetologie - Encyclopedia of Paleoherpetology 3B:1-203
  • R. J. Damiani and B. S. Rubidge. 2003. A review of the South African temnospondyl amphibian record. Palaeontologia africana 39:21-36