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19 Amazing Dakosaurus Facts That Kids Will Love

These Dakosaurus facts are an educational approach to entertaining your kids.

The name 'Dakosaurus' means 'tearing lizard' or 'biter lizard' and this genus was described by Von Quenstedt in 1856. These animals are among the extinct crocodile-like reptiles, from the superfamily Metriorhynchidae, that lived in the Oxfordian age of the Late Jurassic epoch to the Berriasian age of the Early Cretaceous epoch around 150-130 million years ago. The fossil of these prehistoric crocodiles was discovered in South America, North America, Europe, and Russia.

The Dakosaurus was larger when compared to the present crocodiles with a streamlined body that provided efficient hydrodynamics. These marine reptiles had sharp, serrated teeth, an elongated skull, webbed, padded flippers, and a finned tail. When feeding, the anatomy of their jaws suggests that the Dakosaurus and the Geosaurus were apex predators in their habitat and their prey were usually other marine reptiles, cephalopods, and fish. There is no evidence of eggs or nests of these animals, leaving room for speculation about whether it was oviparous or gave birth to live young in the water.

There are two members of this marine reptilian genus; they type species, D. maximus, and D. andiniensis. The D. maximus, which means 'greatest biter lizard', species were found in Western Europe, and the D. andiniensis, which means 'bitter lizard from the Andes', was discovered in 1987 in Argentina.

If your kids enjoy these Dakosaurus facts, take a peek at the Nothosaurus and the Ichthyosaurus.

Dakosaurus Interesting Facts

Was the Dakosaurus a dinosaur?

The Dakosaurus was more of a prehistoric crocodile than a dinosaur and it does not fall under the clade of Dinosauria.

How do you pronounce 'Dakosaurus'?

The genus name Dakosaurus is pronounced as 'dack-oh-sore-us'.

What type of prehistoric reptile was a Dakosaurus?

The Dakosaurus was a prehistoric crocodile, except that it lived entirely in the sea and did not have scaly skin.

In which geological period did the Dakosaurus live?

The Dakosaurus lived from the Oxfordian age of the Late Jurassic period to the Berriasian age of the Early Cretaceous.

When did the Dakosaurus become extinct?

This Mesozoic marine reptile is said to have gone extinct approximately 157-137 million years ago.

Where did a Dakosaurus live?

Dakosaurus maximus fossils were found in western Europe, North America, and South America including deposits from France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Argentina, Mexico, and England. These fossils belonged to the Late Kimmeridgian to the Early Tithonian Age of the Late Jurassic period. The D. andiniensis species was first discovered in the rich fossil beds of the Neuquén Basin in the Vaca Muerta, Argentina. These fossils are estimated to have belonged to the Late Tithonian to the Early Berriasian age from the Late Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous period.

What was a Dakosaurus' habitat?

The Dakosaurus was among the apex predators of marine reptiles with its streamlined body and finned tail designed through evolution for a life under the sea. It is speculated that these prehistoric crocodiles lived in large water bodies like the sea or ocean.

Who did a Dakosaurus live with?

The living pattern or behavior of the Dakosaurus has not been analyzed.

How long did a Dakosaurus live?

The lifespan of these prehistoric marine crocodiles has not been discovered.

How did they reproduce?

It is understood based on the body of the Dakosaurus that they evolved to live completely under the sea, which means that they could have mated underwater as well. However, neither eggs nor nests have been found that would indicate the reproduction type of these prehistoric crocodiles. Therefore, it is quite difficult to understand whether it was oviparous and would come out of the water to lay its eggs like crocodiles, or it gave birth to young ones underwater, like dolphins. Although crocodilians are known to only lay eggs in nests, some anatomical studies of the Dakosaurus skeleton and the fossils of other members of the metriorhynchidae family indicated that the pelvis bone showed a similar structure to marine reptiles that would give birth to live young ones instead of eggs.

Dakosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Dakosaurus look like?

These species were apex predators because of their sharp, deep-seated teeth and strong jaws.

The Dakosaurus had a large, streamlined body with webbed flippers for limbs, flattened tails with flukes like sharks, and a strong, elongated jaw. The overall structure of their body accompanied by their strong jaws and serrated teeth confirmed that this marine species was an apex predator of its time. The teeth of this extinct crocodile genus from the Jurassic and Cretaceous age were uniquely shaped because they were compressed from side to side (lateromedially) and had serrations along the edges. They were also found to be deep-seated into their jawbones indicates that they would have been able to apply extreme force when biting into anything. Due to the similarities of their teeth with those of the Megalosaurus dinosaurs, initially, the Dakosaurus was not considered as crocodiles, but further evidence suggested otherwise. The skull of these marine species had fenestrae towards the back, these were openings that held their strong jaw muscles into place. On the other hand, the D. andiniensis species had a shorter snout which gave it horrifying facial characteristics. As a result, these extinct marine reptiles received the nickname 'Godzilla' from the scientists who were analyzing their fossils.

How many bones did a Dakosaurus have?

The exact number of bones in the body of the Dakosaurus is unknown.

How did they communicate?

Whether or not these extinct marine reptiles had certain characteristics in their communication behavior or pattern is unknown.

How big was a Dakosaurus?

The Dakosaurus size is considered to be large in comparison to other marine predators of the time. They had a body length of around 14.7-16.4 ft (4.5-5 m), which is six times smaller than the blue whale and a total height of barely 23.62-27.55 in (60-70 cm).

How fast could a Dakosaurus move?

Although the exact swimming speed of the Dakosaurus is unknown, the characteristics of its evolved body, especially the streamlined shape, finned tail, and flipper-like limbs, suggest that these extinct crocodiles have hydrodynamic efficiency and could swim fast enough to catch up with their prey when feeding.

How much did a Dakosaurus weigh?

The weight of the Dakosaurus is estimated to be around 1,000-2,000 lb (453.59-907.18 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male and female name of this extinct marine reptile is the same. They were named by Von Quenstedt and are called Dakosaurus, which means 'tearing lizard' or "biter lizard" in Greek.

What would you call a baby Dakosaurus?

The baby of Dakosaurus would be called a juvenile or young Dakosaurus.

What did they eat?

Based on the characteristics of the Dakosaurus skull and teeth, this species is speculated to have been an apex predator. These marine reptiles had serrated and laterally compressed teeth which suggest that they had the 'cut' guild of Massare, similar to the teeth of the current killer whale species. Their triangular jaws, enlarged mouths, and deep-seated teeth mean they could tear direct chunks of flesh or twist feed. This means to suggest that they not only fed on fish but also larger animals like marine reptiles.

How aggressive were they?

Considering they have earned the apex predator title of the Jurassic and Cretaceous epoch, they would have shown high levels of aggression when hunting or dealing with rivals.

Did you know...

The Geosaurus and the Metriorhynchus are close relatives of the Dakosaurus species.

Why is it called 'Dakosaurus'?

The word 'Dakosaurus' means 'tearing lizard' or 'biter lizard' in Greek. Von Quenstedt explained that 'dakos' meant 'biter' and added that only a few could match its terrible jaws, indicating it had a strong bite. In addition, the D. maximus species name means 'greatest tearing lizard' while the name of D. andiniensis means 'tearing lizard from the Andes'.

Is Dakosaurus a crocodile?

Yes, the Dakosaurus was a species of prehistoric marine crocodiles. The only difference is that their body evolved to adapt to an only-water habitat which had led to a few physical modifications.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Ornithosuchus interesting facts and Longisquama facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Dakosaurus coloring pages.

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