Pristichampsus ("saw crocodile") is an extinct genus of crocodylian that grew to approximately three metres (10 ft) in length.

Fossil Sites Edit

Several remains of Pristichampsus have been found around the world: P. rollinatii, the type species from the Lutetian of France; P. vorax from the Middle Eocene of Wyoming and West Texas; P. hengdongensis from the Paleocene of the Hengdon Basin in China, P. birjukovi and P. kuznetzovi from the Middle Eocene of Eastern Kazakhstan; P. geiseltalensis and P. magnifrons from the Lutetian of Germany.

Description Edit

Pristichampsus had heavily armoured skin, and long limbs suggesting a cursorial (i.e. running) habitus. It also had hoof-like toes, suggesting that it lived more on land than in the water, and that it therefore probably hunted terrestrial mammals. Pristichampsus's teeth were laterally compressed, sharp, and had serrated edges. Due to their similarity to those of certain theropod dinosaurs they were initially mistaken for theropod teeth, leading paleontologists to believe that some non-avian dinosaurs survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event.

The species P. rollinatii shows further features adapting the animal to this lifestyle. The tail was more reminiscent of a dinosaur's, being round in cross-section and lacking the osteoderm crest observed in extant crocodile species. It would also have been capable of galloping and facultative bipedalism. However, this would only have been possible at high speeds as the centre of gravity moves in front of the pelvis.