Crocodile

Not quite a crocodile

These are the teeth and scales of an early crocodile-like reptile. The semi-aquatic lifestyle of this animal was very similar to its closest living relatives, crocodiles and alligators. It was two to four metres long, and its skin, complete with armoured scutes, provided camouflage and protection.

It is understandable how early scientists thought that the armour found in the Triassic rocks of East Devon was from crocodiles as they are very similar (see lower photo). But we now know that the Triassic bones belong to an ancient amphibian of a group known as Labyrinthodonts because of the complex nature of their armoured skull bones.

 

Find out more on the reptiles pages.

Common name

Crocodile

Scientific name

Goniopholis crassidens

Type

Vertebrates > Reptiles > Crocodiles and Turtles


Strata

Purbeck Limestone Group

Time period

Lower Cretaceous

Age

142 million years

Where found

Lulworth

Found by

Unknown

Museum

Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

Accession number

DCM.G.00029