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Giant fossil crocodyliform "death roll" use

From: Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Rudemar Ernesto Blanco, Washington W. Jones & Joaquín Villamil (2014)
The ‘death roll’ of giant fossil crocodyliforms (Crocodylomorpha:
Neosuchia): allometric and skull strength analysis.
Historical Biology (advance online publication)

In the evolution of crocodylomorphs, there were at least three
giant-dimension genera: Deinosuchus from late Cretaceous of North
America, Sarcosuchus from middle Cretaceous of Africa and South
America, and Purussaurus from Miocene of South America. It has been
suggested that these predators could have fed on very large prey as
dinosaurs and megamammals. The ‘death roll’ is a spinning manoeuver
executed to subdue and dismember large prey; therefore, it has been
previously suggested that giant crocodylomorphs may have used this
manoeuver. However, this manoeuver can generate torsional stresses in
the skull. We propose a biomechanical model to estimate the capability
of a crocodylomorphs for withstanding this torsional stresses. Our
results show a good correlation between a ‘death roll’ capability
indicator and the feeding categories related with the actual use of
‘death roll’ in 16 living species. Here, for the first time, we
propose a biomechanical approach of the implications of ‘death roll’
in fossil crocodylomorphs. We suggest that Deinosuchus and Purussaurus
were able to execute death roll over dinosaurs and large mammals,
respectively, but Sarcosuchus probably was not. We also found some
allometry effects and, finally, we discuss palaeobiological
implications based on our results.