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Moschops, a close relative of Titanosuchus (Dmitry Bogdanov)


Titanosuchus (Greek for "giant crocodile"); pronounced tie-TAN-oh-SOO-kuss


Swamps of south Africa

Historical Period:

Late Permian (255 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 6 feet long and a few hundred pounds


Probably fish and small animals

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Crocodile-like head and body


About Titanosuchus:

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").

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