Fun Rutiodon Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Feb 20, 2024 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Sep 23, 2021
Edited by Kidadl Team
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Amazing Rutiodon facts that you won't believe.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

The Rutiodon (Rutiodon carolinensis), also known as wrinkle tooth, is a reptile belonging to species R. carolinensis and a genus of subaquatic late Triassic reptiles and the family Phytosauridae. According to history, the Rutiodon skull is very narrow, with four or more rows of dermal scutes. Research shows that it is a species of Archosauria, with a total body size of 9.84-26.24 ft (3-8 m) in length. Rutiodon fossils are in Europe, Germany, and Switzerland as well as North America: Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas. They preyed on fish and other smaller animals they could reach.

According to research, it is known that the Rutiodon is one of the best-known Phytosaurs. It appeared in 2001 on The Discovery Channel, showing the Rutiodon trying to attack a Coelophysis near the water's edge and missing. It was a Phytosaur. Rutiodon nostrils were situated back on the head close to its eyes rather than on the tip of the snout and had sharp teeth in its jaw to catch and eat prey. This species of animals resembled crocodiles and alligators.

You can also check out the Crichtonsaurus and the Sauropelta to get more insights about related animals.

Rutiodon Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce Rutiodon?

Rutiodon carolinensis is pronounced as 'roo-tee-oh-don.'

What type of dinosaur was a Rutiodon?

The Rutiodon was an Archosauria, also called the Palaeonornis or‭ ‬Machaeroprosopus. There are various similar species to the Rutiodon carolinensis like the R.‭ ‬manhattanensis‭ (‬type‭)‬. and the ‬R.‭ ‬carolinensis. Its size depended upon the species and attributed fossil material. They are of the late Triassic time period, and therefore the fossil representation is in multiple specimens.

What geological period did the Rutiodon roam the earth?

These wrinkle tooth dinosaurs were found roaming in the first period of the Mesozoic Era. Also, during the Triassic period, they had great population distribution.

When did the Rutiodon become extinct?

Rutidon phytosauria are reptiles that went extinct 200 million years ago when dinosaurs started to take place in the world. The Rutiodon was discovered and named by Ebenezer Emmons in 1856.

Where did a Rutiodon live?

The Rutiodon dinosaur is of the late Triassic period and its range was near forests and lake environments. Phytosaurs lived on land and but were not ancestral to crocodiles. It was understood from the Rutiodon skeleton that these dinosaurs had sharp long large teeth that resembled a crocodile. Earlier, Phytosaur fossils were found in North America, Europe and India but not in southern continents. There were similar genera like the Phytosaurs Belodon and Rutiodon.

What was a Rutiodon's habitat?

The Rutiodon crosbiensis preferred habitats in North Carolina, New York, and New Jersey. Many references show that they usually resided near flooding areas which later turned into swamps and their range also spread through lakes, river deltas, and floodplains that would frequently turn into extremely overflowed swamps. They were extinct sometime between 227 and 210 million years ago, in the Norian of the Late Triassic period.

Who did a Rutiodon live with?

The Paleorhinus, the Rutiodon and the Mystriosuchus are Phytosaur dinosaurs who do not form a distinct group of a taxon. Therefore, basic history tells us that this large species of Rutiodon texa does not form groups.

How long did a Rutiodon live?

The total lifespan of these creatures is unidentified as they went extinct 200 million years ago.

How did they reproduce?

According to the animal encyclopedia, these Phytosaurs might have had parental care as no eggs are found neither in early times nor in the middle period. During the Triassic period, Phytosaurs had a nearly global population distribution. Little or no information is available about how these animals reproduced, the number of babies they give birth to and who took care of them.

Rutiodon Fun Facts

What did a Rutiodon look like?

The Rutiodon carolinensis Emmons, 1856 is an extinct species that has been mistaken with ‬Phytosaurs and ancient crocodiles. Rutiodons differ in features of the body and the skeleton; the Rutiodon Phytosaur is a Phytosauria and represent its own group and is a bit different from crocodiles, due to lack of a bony palate,‭ ‬more primitive ankle structure as well as the placement of its nostrils far back on the head,‭ ‬which are high up on the snout in front of its eyes, rather than on the very tip of its snout as seen in crocodiles. The Rutiodon carolinensis Emmons, 1856 has a total body length of around 118.1-314.9 in (300-800 cm) and Rutiodon teeth are 0.24-2.56 in (0.6-6.5 cm) in length. They also have narrow jaws, with dark body coloration of dark or olive green and black. According to references, the transference of fossil material in and out of the Rutiodon Emmons genus is likely to have implications on valid size estimates. There are other different species of dinosaurs like the Rutiodon mat, the Rutiodon ark, the Rutiodon carolinensis virginia, the Rutiodon zahn, and the Rupert Oliver Rutiodon model, which are all species of dinosaur animals and have not been extinct but evolved in the form of crocodiles and alligators. Some of them belong to the family leptosuchus. They are also called machaeroprosopus and manhattanensis, which are also species of Rutiodon and related to crocodiles as clearly understood from features of the skeleton.

Rutiodons were believed to have dark body coloration and a strong jaw.

How many bones did a Rutiodon have?

The total number of bones or length of bones present in a Rutiodon is unknown.

How did they communicate?

It is not clearly mentioned anywhere, even in history, as to how these animals communicate.

How big was a Rutiodon?

As per records and references, the Rutiodon size was around 118.1-314.9 in (300-800 cm) which is 9.84-26.24 ft (3-8 m) in length. Their upper body parts were huge and their plates, feet and teeth were also big in size. They are 20 times bigger than the Amazonian manatee.

How fast could a Rutiodon move?

It was noticed by scientists that some of these animals moved at the speed of a cheetah and with the help of trackways, it was identified that they moved at a speed of about 27 mph (43.45 kph), which is a little faster than the best Olympic sprinters and nearly the speed of a cheetah. This was identified by the mark of their footfalls or feet.

How much did a Rutiodon weigh?

This animal is from the prehistoric period and weighs around 200.62-308.64 lb (91-140 kg) with a lack of bony palate. They weigh 5 times heavier and are bigger than dusky dolphins.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names used to describe males and females of the Rutiodon manhattensis.

What would you call a baby Rutiodon?

It is not known what a baby Rutiodon is called.

What did they eat?

These Phytosaurs came to earth and have been mistakenly thought to belong to plant-eaters until in-depth research was done. Phytosaurs have sharp teeth and are clearly predators. The Rutiodon diet mainly consists of small animals like fish and they would grab them with their large sized teeth and hold them steady. They were believed to be strong predators that could prey on any animal smaller than them.

How aggressive were they?

The manhattanensis were quite aggressive in temperament and were very active reptiles.

Did you know...

The Rutiodon Validus of the late Triassic period was featured in the famous documentary 'When Dinosaurs Roamed America' and in the show the Rutiodon attacked a Coelophysis and a Desmatosuchus. Their nostrils were situated back on the snout near its eyes, rather than on the tip of the snout, and insights revealed that this dinosaur was covered in armored plates like modern crocodilians on its back, sides, and tail.

How did they get their name?

They were discovered and named by Ebenezer Emmons in 1856.

What are the differences between a Rutiodon and a crocodile?

For basic reference, crocodiles have evolved from other early Triassic reptiles living in North Carolina and at early times in India, Europe and North America. The Rutiodon had a long tail, sharp teeth and jaws, a squat body, and legs splayed out to the sides, just enhancing how much it resembled living crocodilians in Rutiodon wildlife. However, crocodiles seem to be way smaller and less dangerous in appearance compared to the Rutiodon. Rutiodons may resemble saltwater crocodiles more than other crocodile species due to their strong appearance.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Chungkingosaurus facts and Heterodontosaurus facts pages

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

Fun Rutiodon Facts For Kids

How Much Did They Weigh?

200.62-308.64 lb (91-140 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

118.1-314.9 in (300-800 cm)

How Tall Were They?

118.1-314.9 in (300-800 cm)









Scientific Name

Rutiodon carolinensis

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters, overfishing, habitat loss, water pollution
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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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