Fun Gracilisuchus Facts For Kids

Sharon Judith
Oct 20, 2022 By Sharon Judith
Originally Published on Oct 11, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
If this animal was alive today, it would have easily passed as a baby crocodile. Continue reading to discover more interesting Gracilisuchus facts that you're sure to love!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

Gracilisuchus (wildlife animal) was a very small relative of the crocodile species that exist today.

These small pseudosuchians (a group that includes crocodilian ancestors) lived in the Middle Triassic or maybe even Late Triassic period of Argentina and their fossil remains were discovered in the 1970s in the Chañares Formation. It was discovered by Alfred S. Romer (1972) and his colleagues when they went on an expedition to this site.

Along with a dermal armor having dorsal scutes over them in rows and small forelimbs, this genus of the Gracilisuchidae family was found in a slab along with the remains of Lagosuchus, its dinosaur ancestor.

Agustinia Lecuona and Julia Desojo declared a length of 11 in (28 cm) for the body without the tail and hip.

A paper that came out recently after intensive analysis has placed this dinosaur in a new family called Gracilisuchus, clubbing them with the Turfanosuchus and Yonghesuchus.

It was also believed that This basal extinct genus was initially thought to have been a dinosaur but that hypothesis was rejected. The six known fossil specimens of Gracilisuchus were noted to include a femur, parts of the shoulder, some jawbones, vertebrae, a hind limb bone, paramedian osteoderms, and a skull.

Many bones of the Gracilisuchus extinct genus of the Suchia classification have been shifted to other genera groups as well.

This basal late Triassic reptile fauna displayed some interesting features.

The Gracilisuchus skeleton indicated that this dinosaur would have been able to walk on all four limbs. Since similar features are shared between the Sphenosuchia and Gracilisuchus, they might have come under a common clade of crocodylomorphs.

These Pseudosuchians (a group that includes the ancestors of crocodilians) were noted to have long bodies and crawled on the ground in search of food and these creatures had a carnivorous diet.

If you'd like to learn more about similar animals, check out our Palaeosaurus interesting facts for kids or Hungarosaurus fun facts that you're sure to love.

Gracilisuchus Interesting Facts

Was the Gracilisuchus a dinosaur?

This creature from the Chañares formation named by Romer (1972) that looked like a baby reptile or lizard belonged to the group of pseudosuchians and was considered to be ancestors of crocodiles. Hence, this animal from the classification of reptiles was not considered to be a dinosaur.

How do you pronounce 'Gracilisuchus'?

The pronunciation of this basal extinct genus is 'Gras-sil-e-soo-kus'. The fossils of this specimen of the Gracilisuchidae family and Suchia classification were discovered in the 1970s in the Chañares Formation of Argentina. The skeleton of this reptilian indicated that it could have probably been quadrupedal.

What type of prehistoric reptile was a Gracilisuchus?

The Gracilisuchus specimens, named by Alfred S. Romer, were a type of pseudosuchian that came from the Suchia clade and Gracilisuchidae family. They were similar to the genera Turfanosuchus and Yonghesuchus.

In which geological period did the Gracilisuchus live?

This extinct genus of crurotarsan archosaurs, which belongs to a group that includes the ancestors of crocodiles, was believed to have roamed the Earth during the Middle Triassic to the Late Triassic period.

When did the Gracilisuchus become extinct?

This animal, like all other species of their day and age, became extinct about 66 million years ago! This could have been due to reasons such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, meteor showers and hits, and other natural disasters too!

Where did a Gracilisuchus live?

The Gracilisuchus lived in the terrestrial habitats of Argentina. This was determined when their fossils were excavated in the Chañares formation in 1970. This extinct genus of crurotarsan archosaur was seen as a dinosaur at one point in time due to its tail which was long and a snout that was similar to that of a dinosaur.

What was a Gracilisuchus' habitat?

Preferring to make their homes in natural habitats, these species from the Chañares formation lived in wetlands, forests, grasslands, shorelines, and marshy places. They would have lived in these areas because being a reptile, they would have probably fed on a lot of fish, amphibians, and other small animals that lived in the same habitat as them.

Who did a Gracilisuchus live with?

These animals from the Reptilia classification lived mostly by themselves and were solitary in nature. Just like modern reptiles such as crocodiles and alligators, they hunted by themselves and moved from place to place by themselves.

How long did a Gracilisuchus live?

This basal extinct pseudosuchian would have probably lived for about 70-80 years, although the exact number of years is not known.

How did they reproduce?

Not much is known about the way this Gracilisuchus crocodile from the Chañares formation reproduced. Since they came under the same group as reptilian creatures, the reproduction patterns would have also been similar.

They reproduce sexually and the fertilization process takes place inside. The eggs would have probably been amniotic meaning that they were laid on land instead of in the water.

Gracilisuchus Fun Facts

What did a Gracilisuchus look like?

This small Suchia species of the Gracilisuchidae family was very similar in appearance to the modern-day crocodile, alligator, or lizard. They were also quite similar to Turfanosuchus and Yonghesuchus genera.

They were 11.8 in (30 cm) long and about only 47.2 in (119.8 cm) tall!

Falling under the category of Archosaurs, the phylogenetic position of this reptilian animal from the Middle Triassic to Late Triassic period indicated that they were closely related to the Turfanosuchus and Yonghesuchus. The Gracilisuchus skull was easy to identify with a length of 3.5 in (8.8 cm).

Agustinia Lecuona and Julia Desojo declared a length of 11 in (28 cm) for the body excluding the hip and tail. The openings in the skull were quite large with the fenestra occupying the most part of it.

The holotype was also created from the skull and parts of the limb bone. Recovered fossils also contain elements that were previously not known like the femur, presacral vertebrae, and paramedian osteoderms.

The osteoderms and the femur have been sectioned based on the tissue structure, which has never been done for a Gracilisuchidae before!

They had short legs, a slender face, a long body, and an equally thin and long tail. They also had about four teeth in the premaxilla instead of five.

The skeleton of this creature indicates that they would have been quadrupedal.
We've been unable to source an image of Gracilisuchus and have used an image of Dibothrosuchus dinosaur instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Gracilisuchus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did a Gracilisuchus have?

The number of bones that this reptile of the Suchia species, similar to Turfanosuchus and Yonghesuchus genera, is currently not known as scientists are still trying to determine this through extensive analysis of the skeleton holotype. However, they would have definitely had over 100 bones!

Agustinia Lecuona and Julia Desojo declared a length of 11 in (28 cm) for the body without the tail and hip.

How did they communicate?

These creatures would have communicated with the use of tactile forms like touch, licking, rubbing bodies against each other, and so on.

How big was a Gracilisuchus?

The Gracilisichus was tiny, almost passing as a baby lizard or alligator. They were about 11.8 in (30 cm) long and 47.2 in (119.8 cm) in height! Agustinia Lecuona and Julia Desojo also declared a length of 11 in (28 cm) for the body without the tail and hip.

How fast could a Gracilisuchus move?

The speed at which these reptilian animals, which were noted to be similar to Yonghesuchus and Turfanosuchus, moved is not known currently but they were definitely not slow.

How much did a Gracilisuchus weigh?

The Gracilisuchus, whose holotype was based upon a skull and other portions of the skeleton, weighed about 2.9 lb (1.31 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific male or female names for this 11.8 in (30 cm) long species that is an extinct genus of Crurotarsan archosaur, a group that includes the ancestors of crocodilians. They are simply called by their common name which is Gracilisuchus.

What would you call a baby Gracilisuchus?

A baby Gracilisuchus is called a hatchling, just like the babies of all other reptile species.

What did they eat?

These creatures, named by Alfred S. Romer (1972), were carnivores and had a carnivorous diet. They would have fed on frogs, shrimps, small amphibians, squirrels, newts, salamanders, and so on.

How aggressive were they?

These specimens of Gracilisuchus from Argentina, which were similar to the Turfanosuchus and Yonghesuchus genera, were not really aggressive but like every animal that has walked on earth, they would have displayed a certain degree of aggressive behavior if they or their habitat were threatened in any way.

Did you know...

This Triassic reptile fauna with a unique phylogenetic position loved sunbathing and getting into cold mud! They would have constantly been under the heat of the sun or rolling around in the mud.

What does the name 'Gracilisuchus' mean?

The name 'Gracilisuchus' means 'gracile or slender crocodile.'

What are Gracilisuchus ancestors to?

The Gracilisuchus gracile crocodile, similar to the genera Turfanosuchus and Yonghesuchus near the base of the Suchia, was an ancestor to modern-day reptiles like alligators, comodo dragons, and crocodiles.

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 Metriorhynchus interesting facts for kids, or Caviramus fun facts for kids.

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


Both images by Nobu Tamura.

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Written by Sharon Judith

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

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Sharon JudithBachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

A humanities and Science student, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology from Mount Carmel College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Science from Bournemouth University. She is passionate about research, content writing, and development, and has a keen interest in international finance and economics. With her strong analytical skills and inquisitive mind, she is always striving to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these subjects.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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