Croc Dog: Species of Ancient Crocodile Had Dog-Shaped Head

Posted on July 25, 2011

Pissarrachampsa sera Croc Dog

McGill palaeontology professor Hans Larsson, his graduate student Felipe Montefeltro and Professor Max Langer of the University of Sao Paulo recently discovered a 70 million year old crocodile fossil head that has a dog-like shape. The McGrill Reporter says the fossil head was found in a small town in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The creature is named Pissarrachampsa sera. It has also has the nickname, Croc Dog.

Professor Hans Larsson says, "Whereas modern-day amphibious crocodiles have low and flat heads, this new find gives us one of the first detailed insights into the head anatomy of this weird group of extinct crocs called Baurusuchia that feature tall, doglike skulls with enlarged canines, and long-limbed body proportions."

The researchers believe Pissarrachampsa sera hunted more like modern dogs than modern crocodiles. They think it probably fed on dinosaurs and crocs that were in the same 15 to 20 foot range.

The sketch above, by Professor Larsson, imagines how the Croc Dog would have appeared in predatory motion. It obviously would have been a fearsome predator.

Image: Artist's rendition of Pissarrachampsa sera, a.k.a. Croc Dog. / Illustration by Hans Larsson.

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