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Malawisuchus - A Crocodyliform Reptile of the Cretaceous

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  • Neal Robbins
        This link has an illustration of Malawisuchus. http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/dinosaurs/images/22266326/title/malawisuchus-photo       Malawisuchus was
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 25, 2013
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          This link has an illustration of Malawisuchus.
       
          Malawisuchus was a crocodyliform reptile of the Cretacous. The systematic paleontology of Malawisuchus is:
       
      Reptilia Laurenti 1768
      Crurotarsi Sereno and Arcucci 1990
      Crocodylomorpha Hay 1930
      Crocodyliformes Hay 1930
      Notosuchia Gasparini 1971
      Candidodontidae Carvalho et al. 2004
      Malawisuchus Gomani 1997
      Malawisuchus mwakasyungutiensis Gomani 1997
       
          Fossil remains of Malawisuchus mwakasyungutiensis were found in the Dinosaur Beds Formation (Upper Member) at the CD-1, CD-4, CD-6, CD-8, and CD-9 sites on Malawi. The holotype (Mal-45) ia an articulated skelton (including a skull) that is almost complete. The fossils date to the Aptian age (125.45 - 112.03 million years ago) of the Cretaceous. [Note - The source of this information is The Paleobiology Database.]
          Malawisuchus had a length of about 60 cm. (1.97 ft.). The articulations of the hind lengs indicate that Malawisuchus had an upright posture and could run. [Note - The source of this information is an article by Ismar de Souza Carvalho, Luiz Carlos Borges Ribeiro, and Leonardo dos Santos Avilla. The title is Uberasuchus terrificus sp. nov., a New Crocodylomorpha from the Bauru Basin (Upper Cretaceous), Brazil. It was published in 2004 in Gondwana Research, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp. 975-1002.]
          Attila Osia wrote an article titled The evolution of jaw mechanics and dental function in  heterodont crocodyliforms. It was published in 2013 in Historical Biology. This quote from the abstract says:
       
      Heterodont dentition sometimes including multicuspid crowns appeared in numerous fossil forms through all main lineages of the Crocodyliformes. Teeth in these complex dentitions frequently bear wear facets that are exclusive indicators of tooth-tooth occlusions. Besides, dental specialisations of the jaw apparatus, jaw adductors and mandibular movement can be recognised, all reflecting a high variability of jaw mechanism and of intraoral food processing. Comparative study of these features revealed four main types of jaw mechanisms, some of which evolved independently in several lineages of Crocodyliformes. Isognathous oral jaw closure (precise jaw joint, rough wear facets) is characteristic for heterodont protosuchians and all forms possessing crushing posterior teeth. Proal movement (protractive powerstroke) occurred independently in Malawisuchus and Chimaerosuchus is supported by the antagonistic, vertically oriented carinae. Developed external adductors are the main indicators of palinal movement (retractive powerstroke) that evolved at least two times in various South American taxa. The fourth type (Thakutosuchus) is characterized by lateromedial mandibular rotation supported by extensive horizontal wear facets. This evolutionary scenario resembles that of the masticatory system of mammals and suggests that the ecological role of some mammalian groups in North America and Asia were occupied in Western Gondwana by highly specialised crocodyliforms.
       
          Neal Robbins
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