Koolasuchus (Greek for "Kool's crocodile"); pronounced COOL-ah-SOO-kuss
Swamps of Australia
Middle Cretaceous (110-100 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 15 feet long and 500 pounds
Fish and shellfish
Large size; broad, flat head
The most remarkable thing about Koolasuchus is when this Australian amphibian lived: the middle Cretaceous period, or about a hundred million years after its more famous "temnospondyl" ancestors like Mastodonsaurus had gone extinct in the northern hemisphere. Koolasuchus adhered to the basic, crocodile-like temnospondyl body plan--oversized head and long trunk with squat limbs--and it seems to have subsisted on both fish and shellfish. How did Koolasuchus prosper so long after its northern relatives vanished off the face of the earth? Perhaps the cool climate of Cretaceous Australia had something to do with it, allowing Koolasuchus to hibernate for long periods of time and avoid predation.