|Time Period:||Late Cretaceous, 82-73 mya|
|Skeleton Unearthed:||North America (Wyoming, North Carolina, Montana, Mexico)|
|Length:||10 m (33 ft)|
Deinosuchus was a prehistoric relative of the alligator that lived in the Late Megaannum Epoch of the Cretaceous. This was one of the largest crocodilians that ever existed. It was so big, it could eat dinosaurs.
Deinosuchus resembles a classic crocodilian, only much larger, about 8-10 meters (26 to 33 feet). Its jaws are armed with large, robust teeth and a bite force around 18,000-100,000 Newtons (4,000-22,000 lbf[pounds of force]). Its bite rivals that of Tyrannosaurus Rex, whose bite was 35,000-57,000 (7,860-12,8000 lbf). Like crocodiles and gators, this amphibious behemoth had a secondary bony palate, which allowed it to breathe from its nostrils while the rest of its massive head remained submerged underwater while it scanned the shores for its food. Lining its back were osteoderms (scutes), which were strangely big, heavy, and deeply pitted; some in hemispherical shapes. Grooves on the scutes served as attachments for connective tissue, which would've served as load-bearing reinforcements to support the massive body of Deinosuchus. With similarities like that of modern crocs, it would have moved in the same way as them.
Deinosuchus definitely ate dinosaurs, even theropods. Its diet also included pterosaurs, sea turtles, fish, sharks, and marine reptiles. In some eastern areas, Deinosuchus was the apex predator, as no predatory dinosaurs came close in size to it, not even tyrannosaurs. It had a sweet-tooth for hadrosaurs(duck-bills), and was thought duck-bills were the mainstay of its diet, but a discovery in 2016 showed that it mainly ate sea turtles. Like the saltwater crocodiles of today, it's possible that Deinosuchus ventured out to the Western Interior Seaway to feed. It's possible that it ate mosasaurs as well, but Deinosuchus was most likely the target instead.
Like other crocodilians, Deinosuchus inhabited rivers, lakes, estuaries, and swamps. It's thought to have also lived along the coast, and, as stated above, venture out into the waters of the Western Interior Seaway, or, as paleontologists call it, Hell's Aquarium.
Deinosuchus became extinct 7 million years before the KT Extinction. This was due to the movement of the Earth and climate change, sea levels rose, and swamps were, well, swamped. Coastlines were flooded. With no available resting area, the lack of food, competition, and the arrival of new predators, Deinosuchus was driven to extinction. But there are still reminiscence of the behavior of this creature in today's saltwater crocs.
- Main article: Deino