Titanosuchus (Greek for "giant crocodile"); pronounced tie-TAN-oh-SOO-kuss
Swamps of south Africa
Late Permian (255 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 6 feet long and a few hundred pounds
Probably fish and small animals
Crocodile-like head and body
The impressively named Titanosuchus (Greek for "giant crocodile") is a bit of a cheat: this reptile wasn't a crocodile at all, but a therapsid (mammal-like reptile), and while it was fairly big by Permian standards it wasn't anywhere close to being a giant. As far as paleontologists can tell, Titanosuchus tilted decisively toward the reptile end of the "mammal-like reptile" spectrum, almost certainly having smooth, reptilian skin and lacking the presumed warm-blooded metabolism of later, furry therapsids. It was closely related to another early reptile with a deceptive name, the mostly harmless Titanophoneus ("giant murderer").