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Re: alligator or crocodile?

>Hi everyone,
>    I've a few questions that I'm hoping list members can help with.
>    First of all, are there any good reference material for Deinosuchus? I
>heard that the original skull reconstruction is mostly plaster.

Not much has been published since mid-century, and I cited what little
there is in SVP Memoir 6, to which you allude.  But several new fossils
have come to light in several places, and descriptions are in progress.

The original skull is, to quote Wann Langston, a "figment of the
imagination."  It was modeled on a modern Crocodylus skull.

 Some people
>where claiming that Deinosuchus was an Alligatoroid not a crocodilian in an
>article I had read in the SVP journal a few years back. Has any new
>information come forward?

"Some people" would be me.  Deinosuchus is still a crocodylian, but more
specifically, an alligatoroid.  "True crocodiles" are also crocodylians,
but belong to Crocodyloidea (and more specifically Crocodylidae) within

Deinosuchus is a very basal alligatoroid, and I base this on derived
similarities in the lower jaw.  Earlier assessments that Deinosuchus was a
crocodyloid or crocodylid were based on plesiomorphic features also found
in the basalmost alligatoroids.


Christopher A. Brochu
Department of Geology
Field Museum of Natural History
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

voice: 312-665-7633
fax: 312-665-7641
electronic:  cbrochu@fmppr.fmnh.org