Gryposuchus is an extinct genus of gavialoid crocodilian. It is the type genus of the subfamily Gryposuchinae. Fossils have been found from Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and the Peruvian Amazon. The genus existed from the Middle Miocene to Late Pleistocene (Friasian to Lujanian). One recently described species, G. croizati, grew to an estimated length of 10 metres (33 ft).
|Fossils of the skull and mandible of G. colombianus, Museo Geológico José Royo y Gómez, Bogotá.|
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The type species of Gryposuchus is G. jessei, named based on a well-preserved rostrum collected along the Pauini River of Brazil in 1912. The specimen was probably destroyed during World War II by the 1943 bombing of Hamburg. Another specimen named UFAC 1272, consisting of a premaxilla and maxilla, was discovered in the nearby Sena Madureia locality in and referred to the species in 1997. A second species, G. neogaeus, was referred to the genus in 1982; specimens from this species were first described from Argentina in 1885, although it was referred to Rhamphostomopsis at the time.
Another species, G. colombianus, has been recovered from deposits in Colombia that date back to the Miocene and Pliocene epochs. This species, named in 1965, was originally referred to Gavialis. Fragmentary material of Gryposuchus from the Fitzcarrald Arch in the Peruvian Amazon dating back to the late middle Miocene bear a close resemblance to G. colombianus, but differ in rostrum proportions.
A species described in 2008, G. croizati, found from the upper Miocene Urumaco Formation in northwestern Venezuela, can be distinguished from other species of Gryposuchus on the basis of a reduced number of maxillary teeth, a slender parietal interfenestral bar, and widely separated and reduced palatine fenestrae, and other characters. Based on measurements of the orbital cranial skeleton, the length of the animal has been estimated at around 10.15 metres (33.3 ft) in length, with a total mass of about 1,745 kilograms (3,847 lb). Measuring the entire length of the skull from the end of the rostrum to the supraoccipital would result in a much larger size estimate, up to three times as great. However, because there is considerable variation seen in rostral proportions among crocodilians, the latter measurements are probably not an accurate way of estimating body mass and length. Despite this, the species is still one of the largest crocodilians known to have existed, and it may indeed have been the largest gavialoid to have ever existed if a recent revision in the estimated size of the large tomistomine Rhamphosuchus is correct (the genus was once considered to be 15 metres (49 ft) in length; the new estimate puts it at approximately 10 metres (33 ft)).
Some skull material also recovered from Peruvian Amazon (Iquitos) in the Pebas Formation, was named as Gryposuchus pachakamue in 2016 by Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi et al. It includes the holotype MUSM 987, a well preserved skull that lacks of temporal and occipital bones; it measures 623.2 millimeters in length, and a series of referred specimens, including possible juveniles. The species was named after the Quechuan word for a primordial god and "storyteller". This new species is characterized by have 22 teeth in the mandible and the maxilla, a snout comparable in relative length to the modern Gavialis gangeticus, and is notable since that its orbits were wider than long and not so upturned as another species of gavialids, including the gryposuchines, which implies that G. pachakamue doesn't had the "telescoped" orbits (protruding eyes) condition fully developed. Since that it species, that inhabited the proto-Amazon fluvial system 13 million years ago, is the oldest record of gavialids in this area and it had a primitive telescoped eyes condition, it shows that the development of such condition was a case of convergent evolution with the species of Gavialis also found in fluvial environments.
Some gryposuchines such as Siquisiquesuchus and Piscogavialis have been found from localities thought to have been deposited in coastal environments. The presence of Gryposuchus in the Urumaco Formation of Venezuela, which does include marine strata, lends credence to the idea that gryposuchines may have been living in coastal environments. However, certain localities where material from the species G. colombianus has been recovered, such as La Venta, Colombia, were clearly deposited in non-marine environments, speaking against the proposed coastal lifestyle hypothesis for all gryposuchines. Fossils of Gryposuchus have been found dating from the Miocene of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela; and the Pleistocene of Brazil.
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