Weird Heads Month #05: Crested Snorkelers

A colored line drawing of an extinct phytosaur, a crocodile-like semi-aquatic reptile. It has a long snout with two raied bony crests along its upper jaw, and nostrils up near its eyes.

Phytosaurs were a lineage of incredibly crocodile-like archosauriformes – essentially “crocodiles before crocodiles” – convergently evolving an incredibly similar appearance at a time when the ancestors of modern crocs were still small and terrestrial.

But while they had toothy snouts and bodies heavily armored with bony ostederms, unlike crocodilians their nostrils were far back on their heads up near their eyes, often in a sort of bony “snorkel” so they could breathe while almost fully submerged underwater.

Mystriosuchus westphali lived in Germany during the Late Triassic, about 215-212 million years ago. Around 4m long (~13′), it was even more aquatic than other phytosaurs, with paddle-like limbs and long slender gharial-like jaws adapted for catching slippery prey.

And along with the typical phytosaur snorkel, it also had raised crests along its upper jaw – which may have supported even larger keratinous display structures.

2 thoughts on “Weird Heads Month #05: Crested Snorkelers”

    1. Sadly no, because Pyrokerberus doesn’t seem to actually exist.

      As far as I can tell it was a speculative creature originating entirely from avancna on deviantart.

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