Ancient “terror crocodiles” used banana-sized teeth to eat everything in sight, even dinosaurs

Crocodiles may seem intimidating in the year 2020, but millions of years ago, they were so large, they were able to eat dinosaurs. These massive North American crocodiles, scientists said, had teeth the “size of bananas.”

According to a new study of fossils of Deinosuchus published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the creatures lived between 75 million and 82 million years ago. Deinosuchus, which means “terrorist crocodile”, used their ginormous teeth to feed even the largest dinosaurs – and put them at the top of the food chain in their ecosystem.

Researchers studied fossils and bite marks on turtles and dinosaur bands to create a complete picture of Deinosuchus. They said the animal, which grew to 33 feet in length, was actually more related to alligators than crocodiles.

Researchers said that almost everything in their habitat provided food by the massive predators.

An illustration by Deinosuchus from the cover of the magazine.

Tyler Stone

“Deinosuchus was a giant that had to terrorize dinosaurs that came to the edge of the water to drink,” lead author Adam Cossette, a paleontologist at the New York Institute of Technology, said in a news release Monday. “Until now, the entire animal was unknown. These new specimens we examined revealed a bizarre, monstrous predator with teeth the size of bananas.”

Cossette and co-researcher Christoper Brochu, a paleontologist at the University of Iowa, identified three known species of Deinosuchus: Deinosuchus hatcheri, Deinosuchus riograndensis and Deinosuchus schwimmeri. All three circled across different parts of the US, which at the time were cut in half by a shallow sea.

Many aspects of the ancient beasts remain mysterious. They did not look like a crocodile like an alligator, and their extremely large noses had enormous holes on the tips that were completely unique and without a known purpose.

The animals were for the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, but the reason for their disappearance remains unknown.

“It was a strange animal,” Brochu said. “It shows that crocodiles are not ‘living fossils’ that have not changed since the age of dinosaurs. They have evolved just as dynamically as any other group.”