Upper Aguja Formation
Brewster County, Texas, USA
Upper Cretaceous - Campanian
70 Million Years Ago
Specimen size: .750" with natural ware before fossilization.
Deinosuchus is an extinct genus of crocodilian related to the modern alligator that lived 82 to 73 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period. The name translates as "terrible crocodile" and is derived from the Greek deinos, "terrible", and soukhos, "crocodile".
Its main competitors as a large predator may have included sharks, marine reptiles like Mosasaurs, theropods like the Tyrannosaurs and other Deinosuchus. Its main prey were sea turtles and dinosaurs.
It lived on both sides of the Western Interior Seaway which was an ancient inland sea that divided North America In the Cretaceous. This sea was teeming with mosasaurs, pterosaurs and predators that would have outcompeted any other carnivore but not Deinosuchus because it was an opportunistic apex predator that was a lot larger than most of the carnivores in this ocean such as Xiphactinus. It lived on both sides of this ocean around the coastal regions of eastern and western North America.
Deinosuchus reached its largest size in its western habitat, but the eastern populations were far more common. Opinion remains divided as to whether these two populations represent separate subspecies. Deinosuchus was probably capable of killing and eating large dinosaurs. It may have also fed on turtles, fish, and other aquatic and terrestrial prey. Deinosuchus died out before the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction Event.
Deinosuchus had a secondary bony palate, which would have allowed it to breathe through its nostrils while the rest of the head remained submerged underwater. The secondary palate and procoelous vertebrae are advanced features also found in modern crocodilians.The osteoderms covering the back of Deinosuchus were unusually large and deeply pitted; some were of a roughly semi-spherical shape. Deep pits and grooves on these osteoderms served as attachment points for connective tissues.Together, the osteoderms and connective tissues would have served as load-bearing reinforcement to support the massive body of Deinosuchus out of water. Consequently, despite its bulk, Deinosuchus was probably almost as agile on land as its modern relatives. Further studies in 2020, showed that Deinosuchus had banana sized teeth, a broad skull and broad, elongated heads which ended in a bulbous tip.