Machimosauruses are extinct marine reptiles that belong to the family of Machimosaurids which lived during the Kimmeridgian to the Tithonian stage of the Late Jurassic period until the Early Cretaceous period. Their remains are estimated to be 154-130 million years old with numerous individual fossil representations.
The type species, Machimosaurus hugii, was discovered in 1837 in Switzerland, with the largest known thalattosuchian as well as teleosauroid, M. rex and other fossils of new species of Machimosaurus found across other parts of northern Africa and Europe. The Tithonian deposits of France and the semi-aquatic Kimmeridgian deposits of Germany have uncovered Machimosaurus fossils along with those of Steneosaurus.
In addition, the evidence provided by their vertebrae structure suggests that this marine reptile lived in open seas swimming with the help of lateral sways of the tail while using the limbs to balance and steer. These reptiles had well-developed head and neck muscles with a large attachment region on the skull, especially in the Machimosaurus rex, suggesting that the members of this genus were efficient divers.
No, the Machimosaurus genus comprises the extinct Machimosaurid crocodyliform, which was much larger than their present-day relatives.
The word Machimosaurus is pronounced as 'Ma-chi-mo-sore-us'.
This genus comprises extinct sea crocodiles from several million years ago which were classified as teleosaurids under the suborder Thalattosuchia.
The Machinosaurus is said to live during the Kimmeridgian and the Tithonian stage of the Late Jurassic period to the Early Cretaceous period. The type species, M. hugii was discovered in the Kimmeridgian deposits of Tunisia, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland. A lower jaw portion of the M. nowackianus was found in the Oxfordian of the Kimmeridgian age of the Late Jurrasic period deposits in Ethiopia. The new species, Machimosaurus rex, and the largest of its kind was discovered in the deposits of the Late Jurassic period in Tunisia as well as the Barremian age of the Early Cretaceous period in Colombia.
Based on fossilized evidence, the Machimosaurus is said to have gone extinct about 154-130 million years ago.
Referring to the unearthed fossils, the Machimosaurus is estimated to have lived in the prehistoric waters of northern Africa and Europe. The fossils of this prehistoric marine crocodile genus have been found in Switzerland, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Tunisia, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
After understanding the anatomical structure of the skull, body, and tail, the Machimosaurus is confirmed to be an aquatic reptile species that lived in open waters, with some proof that it visited the shore to catch prey, like present-day crocodiles.
Based on the studies of the Machimosaurus fossil, not much can be inferred about the living patterns and behavior of this extinct crocodile.
The lifespan of the members of the Machimosaurus genus is unknown.
There is almost no information about the reproductive system of these prehistoric marine animals, but since it is classified as a prehistoric crocodyliform some peopl have speculated. For example, several prehistoric crocodile species are known to have given birth to young ones through oviparous reproduction. They would build simple nests by digging burrows on the shores of water bodies and lay pointy eggs. Apart from this, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact method of reproduction, mating rituals, nesting behavior, or parental care among these extinct marine reptiles.
The average Machimosaurus size is considered to be among the largest of the Jurassic era, especially after the discovery of the Machimosaurus rex which was known as the biggest thalattosuchian and teleosauroid with its striking 23.6-31.5 ft (7.2-9.6 m) length body. Their skull shape was similar to that of the gharial, with its narrow, long snout but much larger. They had stubby feet, long tails, and their backs had spikes along the vertebrae to the tip of their tail. All these features helped the Machimosaurus swim efficiently. In addition, the structure of their necks and heads along with their attachment region on the skull suggests that these marine animals aced diving through the water as well. These animals also had sharp conical teeth suitable to tear through tough flesh.
Although a complete Machimosaurus skeleton has been found, the exact number of bones in this marine species is unknown.
The communication patterns or behavior of these prehistoric crocodiles are unknown. However, like many sea crocodiles, they could have communicated through visual and behavioral displays. Whether they used vocalizations to communicate has not been confirmed.
Based on the specimen, the largest recorded member of this extinct crocodile genus was the M. rex species with a length measured between 23.6-31.5 ft (7.2-9.6 m) which is around the same as the giant oarfish.
The vertebrae articulations of the fossils suggest that they lived in open seas and would have poor movement on land. As a swimmer, this prehistoric crocodile was quick and used lateral undulating movements of the tail to push through the waters. In addition, the well-developed structure of their neck and head along with the large attachment region on their skull confirms that their head could deal with pressure which would greatly assist them when diving.
This extinct crocodile, based on the evidence of the Machimosaurus rex, had a weight range between 4,409.24-6,613.86 lb (2,000-3,000 kg), similar to the lower average weight of a hippo.
The male and female dinosaurs of this genus do not have separate names. However, they have different names based on the species like M. hugii, M. mosae, M. nowackianus, M. buffetauti, and M. rex.
Their babies are called juveniles.
Based on bite marks of these prehistoric crocodiles observed in sauropods, the bite marks suggest that they fed either on sauropod corpses or captured them from water edges like present-day crocodiles. In addition, fossilized turtle shells have bite marks as well as teeth splinters that match the ones of these reptiles. This, along with the analysis of their skull structure, confirms that these extinct reptiles could easily crush hard-shelled prey.
Not much is known about their behavior, but they were predatory in nature which means they would have to display a certain level of aggression.
The prefix 'Machimo' is derived from the Greek word 'Machimoi' which referred to the ancient Egyptian troops' dynasty. The suffix, 'saurus' simply means 'pugnacious lizard'.
The type species, M. hugii, was discovered and described in 1837 by Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Sordes interesting facts or Muzquizopteryx facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Machimosaurus coloring pages.
Main image by DiBgd
Second image by Ghedoghedo