Metoposaurus (Greek for "front lizard"); pronounced meh-TOE-poe-SORE-us
Swamps of North America and western Europe
Late Triassic (220 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 10 feet long and 500 pounds
Broad, flat skull; splayed legs; long tail
During long stretches of the Carboniferous and Permian periods, amphibians were the dominant land animals on earth, but some genera continued to flourish well into the age of dinosaurs. A good example is Metoposaurus, a crocodile-like predator with a bizarrely oversized, flat head and a long, fishlike tail. Considering its weak limbs, Metoposaurus wouldn't have posed much of a threat to the earliest dinosaurs, feasting instead on fish in the shallow swamps of North America and western Europe (and probably other parts of the world as well).