Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Dakosaurus maximus

Dakosaurus (meaning "tearing lizard") is better known from the well publicized 1996 discovery of the Argentinian species, D. andiniensis, dubbed "Godzilla" in the press, but the first remains of this animal were actually found in Western Europe, including England, with the species D. maximus.

With an estimated length of up to 6 meters, Dakosaurus was the top predator of its time, feeding on large prey which might have included sharks, ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. It had a relatively short skull compared to the other thalattosuchians, with jaws equipped with huge teeth ideal for crushing bones. Dakosaurus lived during the Kimmeridgian and Tithonian and was represented by four species: D. maximus, D. andiniensis, D. manselii, and D. nicaeensis.

Dakosaurus maximus
von Quenstedt, 1856
Meaning of generic name
Tearing Lizard
Meaning of specific name
maximus = largest,

[andiniensis = from Andes, nicaeensis = from Nicea/Nice in Turkey or from Nice/Nizza in France, manselii = of Mansel ?]
Length: 6 m
Several isolated bones, teeth,
Age and Distribution
Kimmeridgian - Tithonian, Europe, South America
Paracrocodylomorpha, Diapsida, Archsauromorpha, Mesoeucrocodylia, Thalattosuchia, Metriorhynchidae
Further Reading
P. Vignaud (1) ; Z. Gasparini 1996, New Dakosaurus (Crocodylomorpha, Thalattosuchia) in the Upper Jurassic of Argentina, Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences.vol. 322, no3, pp. 245-250 (11 ref.)
Other species
D. andiniensis, Vignaud & Gasparini, 1996 D. manselii, Hulke, 1870 and D. nicaeensis, Ambayrac, 1913.
Dacosaurus Sauvage, 1873 Plesiosuchus Owen, 1884
Image by Nobu Tamura (click to enlarge)
Dakosaurus maximus, December 12, 2008

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