Crocodile

Windows in the skull

Notice how there are three pairs of holes in the skull, two on the top, two on the side (one hidden in this photo) and two more looking forward. The front ones are the eye sockets, and the others are called temporal fenestrae or ‘windows in the skull’. They are there to lighten the skull and provide attachment points for the muscles that work the jaws. Crocodiles, dinosaurs, plesiosaurs, pliosaurs and ichthyosaurs all have these holes and belong to a group known as the ‘Diaspids’. The structure of the skull is used to understand how reptiles evolved.

Find out more on the reptile pages.

Common name

Crocodile

Scientific name

Pholidosaurus

Type

Vertebrates > Reptiles > Crocodiles and Turtles


Strata

Purbeck Limestone Group

Time period

Lower Cretaceous

Age

142 million years

Where found

Swanage

Found by

Unknown

Museum

Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

Accession number

DCM.G.00027