Questions and Questions on Email into Everything Dinosaur
Team members are catching up on their paperwork and other matters at the moment. We noted that we received a couple of emails recently with enquiries about extant species of crocodiles (crocodile species alive today). Both correspondents wanted to know which was the largest species of crocodile living. Indeed, one person who wrote in with this query wanted us to settle an argument as to whether Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) ever grew to the same size of the Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).
Extant Species of Crocodiles
Having had the opportunity to review the Guinness Book of World Records 2012 last year, we can assert that the Saltwater or Estuarine crocodile of Asia and Australasia is the largest living species of crocodile with some individuals in the wild reaching lengths approaching seven metres and weighing more than one tonne. The largest specimen in captivity is a male known as “Cassius” measuring 5.5 metres in length which is housed at an animal park on Green Island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
Nile crocodiles can grow to very large sizes, reports of individuals approaching six metres in length have been made in places such as Kenya and Botswana and there have been some hard to validate claims of seven metre long individuals but if a Nile crocodile is shot and then measured to be in excess of sixteen feet in length, it is regarded as a very large specimen.
A number of extinct crocodylians were much larger, including members of the Eusuchia (true crocodiles). One of the largest was a distant relative of the Nile crocodile, which lived in Africa during the Pliocene, this beast may have reached lengths in excess of eight metres long and may have preyed on early hominids.
For replicas and models of ancient archosaurs: Prehistoric Archosaurs and Dinosaur Models.
A crocodile caught in the Philippines in 2011 has been officially declared the largest crocodile in captivity (July 2012).
To read about this animal: Lolong a World Record Holder.