Fun Metriorhynchus Facts For Kids

Ayan Banerjee
Jan 13, 2023 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Oct 04, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Metriorhynchus was a prehistoric crocodile.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Metriorhynchus was a marine crocodyliform residing in the aquatic habitat. The species Metriorhynchus was named by paleontologist Christian Von Meyer in 1832.

It existed during the late to middle Jurassic. Metriorhynchus is found in roughly 12 different species, which is one of the most fascinating facts about it.

As a result, it was one of the most plentiful marine species in what is now western Europe during this time period. The Metriorhynchid, which comprises the forms that were best adapted to a marine existence, and the Metriorhynchid, which includes the forms that were best adapted to a terrestrial existence.

They had huge tail fins and nostrils that are closer to the eyes than the tip of the snout, and they are mostly long-snouted species that ate small fish or squid. Geosaurines are the largest-bodied Metriorhynchids and include Dakosaurus, which was similar to modern false killer whales, and Geosaurus, which was similar to living barracudas.

No fossil cousins of these two taxa, which would represent the earliest Metriorhynchids, are recovered.

As a result, we still don't know when Metriorhynchids evolved, where they evolved, or what underpinned their sudden marine diversification. The Thalattosuchia, for example, had a long evolutionary natural history that revealed multiple subspecies.

Telesauridae and Metriorhynchidae are the two families that make up Thalattosuchia. Both of these creatures have finned tails and slender bodies.

Interested to know more about dinosaurs? Check out amazing facts about Palaeosaurus and Hungarosaurus.

Metriorhynchus Interesting Facts

Was the Metriorhynchus a dinosaur?

Metriorhynchus was a marine crocodyliform and not a dinosaur. It is an extinct genus.

How do you pronounce 'Metriorhynchus'?

Metriorhynchus, named by Von Meyer, can be pronounced as 'met-ree-oh-rink-us', divided the one word into five small words.

What type of prehistoric reptile was a Metriorhynchus?

Metriorhynchus was found to be a prehistoric crocodile that lived around 155 million years ago.

In which geological period did the Metriorhynchus live?

These marine reptiles were found thriving during the middle to late Jurassic around 155 million years ago, in a place now called South America. One group of Metriorhynchus, namely the Thalattosuchus species were found during the upper Jurassic period. A new Metriorhynchid species were also found during the upper Jurassic period.

When did the Metriorhynchus become extinct?

Metriorhynchus came into light from the middle Jurassic to the lower Cretaceous. Whereas the other group of Metriorhynchus, known as Thalattosuchia appeared during the early Jurassic period. Metriorhynchus skeleton was discovered by paleontologists during the 19th century in France, Germany, western Europe, and England.

Where did a Metriorhynchus live?

Metriorhynchus of the middle to late Jurassic, were known to be marine reptiles that lived in the oceans and sea of western Europe, France, Argentina, Chile, and Germany as studied from their fossil deposits.

What was a Metriorhynchus's habitat?

The habitat of Metriorhynchus is purely aquatic as they are known to be marine reptiles. They reside in shallow waters most of the time catching small fish.

It moves to the deep waters in search of giant animals like Leedsichthys. It devotes much of its time to sea. This statement was supported by the presence of salt glands as revealed from their fossil.

Who did a Metriorhynchus live with?

Metriorhynchus can either stay in groups or might stay alone.

How long did a Metriorhynchus live?

Metriorhynchus represents modern crocodiles and can live up to 70 - 80 years.

How did they reproduce?

They reproduce by laying eggs just like turtles, unlike other marine reptiles that give birth to young ones' life in the sea. Sadly, no petrified eggs or embryos have yet to be discovered.

The odd structure of their pelvis, on the other hand, could be telling: it has a big circumference, which could indicate that they gave birth to live offspring.

Metriorhynchus Fun Facts

What did a Metriorhynchus look like?

Metriorhynchus, which existed during the late Jurassic period, resembles the modern-day crocodiles. It possesses a streamlined body, slender, long snout, and a finned tail.

They developed hydrofoil-like forelimbs and paddle-like hindlimbs, lost their osteoderms, and evolved a tail that was laterally compressed and hypo cercal, allowing efficient water propulsion. It has salt glands that let it extract salt from seawater so that it can drink it.

Metriorhynchus are fast swimmers and are designed for swimming.

How many bones did a Metriorhynchus have?

According to paleontologists, Metriorhynchus, which existed during the late to middle Jurassic, had a perfect resemblance to modern-day crocodiles. So it is thought to have the same number of bones as crocodiles have, that is, 250 bones.

These basal Metriorhynchids are a poorly understood group of creatures whose existence is mostly based on fragments of damaged fossils, mostly fragmentary skulls. Another frequent Metriorhynchid, Metriorhynchus supercilious, was discovered in the Callovian Oxford Clay deposit.

How did they communicate?

As Metriorhynchus represents modern crocodiles, paleontologists correlated research done from the Metriorhynchus fossil and the present-day crocodile species. However, there is not much conclusive information in this area.

How big was a Metriorhynchus?

Metriorhynchus size was around 9.8 ft (3 m) in length and it weighs around 500 lb (226 kg). It was ten times bigger than a lionfish.

How fast could a Metriorhynchus move?

Metriorhynchus are fast swimmers and are designed for swimming. They don't have osteoderms but possess a large tail fin, legs are developed to form flippers so that they would not be weighed down during swimming.

How much did a Metriorhynchus weigh?

Metriorhynchus species weighed approximately 500 lb (226 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There is no such distinct given to the male and female species as revealed in studies.

What would you call a baby Metriorhynchus?

There is no specific name given to the baby Metriorhynchus as mentioned in the history.

What did they eat?

Metriorhynchus was an egocentric and versatile marine reptile of the late Jurassic that predated upon cephalopods, aquatic animals like the armored, fast-moving belemnites, and the giant Leedsichthys.

It also has the potential of capturing animals like Pterosaurs and forage on Plesiosaur carcasses around the sea. Fossil studies showed that Metriorhynchus have specially designed salt glands that help them to drink saltwater and prey on species that have the same ionic concentration as the surrounding seawater.

Though this extinct genus was a versatile hunter, it was unsafe to predate giant marine species like Liopleurodon.

How aggressive were they?

Male species are very aggressive towards the other males. When it comes to hunting, the species stay quiet and wait for their prey to pass on, so that it could slowly jump onto them for feeding.

Did you know...

Fossil specimens of Metriorhynchus have been discovered in France's Kimmeridgian (late Jurassic) strata.

The Callovian marine crocodile Metriorhynchus from central England, from the middle Jurassic was discovered by Eudes-Deslongchamps.

Paleontologists discovered that though Metriorhynchus resembles modern-day crocodiles, their way of thinking was different from that of the crocodiles.

True Metriorhynchids have been discovered dating from the middle Jurassic to the early Cretaceous (about 168 million to 125 million years ago).

A solitary tooth crown from the Aptian period of Sicily is the most recent known Metriorhynchid fossil. The morphology, cutting edge, and serration of this tooth crown suggest that it belonged to a close relative of the largest known Metriorhynchid.

The British Museum of Natural History has meticulously conserved the fossils of these reptiles. Thalattosuchia fossils were recovered from Normandy in France, Whitby, and Somerset in England, and Holzman of Germany.

What does the name 'Metriorhynchus' mean?

The Metriorhynchus was named by Von Meyer, and was taken from two Greek words, namely, 'metrio' and 'rhynchos', meaning moderate and snout respectively.

What are Metriorhynchus ancestors to?

Metriorhynchus, commonly found in Europe, are ancestors to the crocodiles. Crocodiles are rigidly built, huge lizard-like reptiles having long flattened snouts, compressed tails, ears, eyes, and nostrils at the top just like their ancestors Metriorhynchus used to have.

Crocodiles also have their bodies covered with scales, so do their ancestors. They also have four-chambered heart, heart valves, left and right aorta that allows blood to flow in one direction only.

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 Mesosaurus interesting facts or Caviramus facts for kids.

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

The first image is by Dmitry Bogdanov and the second image is by Nobu Tamura.

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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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