Skip to main content

Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World (Photos)

Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

Crocs Saltwater crocodile

(Image credit: Copyright AMNH/C. Chesek)

These are the largest living crocodilians and are found in coastal areas of Southeast Asia and Australasia. Males regularly grow to more than 15 feet (4.6 meters), and exceptionally large specimens can top 18 feet (5.5 meters) and weigh 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms). This model is a true-to-life sculpture of Gomek, the largest "salty" ever exhibited in the Western Hemisphere.

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Crocs American alligator

(Image credit: Copyright AMNH/C. Chesek)

A diorama shows a life-size model of an American alligator guarding her nest.

[Read the full story on these predators and their ancient relatives.]

Crunch capacity

Crocs Crunch capacity

(Image credit: Copyright AMNH/C. Chesek)

Visitors are able to test their strength against a croc's "crunch capacity."

Touchable skull replicas

Crocs Touchable skull replicas

(Image credit: Copyright AMNH/C. Chesek)

Touchable skull replicas help visitors learn how to tell an alligator from a crocodile.

Steneosaurus bollensis

Crocs Steneosaurus bollensis

(Image credit: Copyright AMNH/C. Chesek)

Visitors can touch this replica of an ancient marine crocodylomorph that lived 183 to 176 million years ago in what is now Europe.

[Read the full story on these predators and their ancient relatives.]

Steneosaurus bollensis

Crocs Steneosaurus bollensis

(Image credit: Copyright AMNH/C. Chesek)

Although it looks like a modern croc, this early lineage died out entirely about 130 million years ago.

Thecachampsa skull replica

Crocs Thecachampsa skull replica

(Image credit: Copyright AMNH/C. Chesek)

Thecachampsa americana lived between 13 and 6 million years ago on what is now the east coast of the U.S. Fossil specimens have been found in Florida and South Carolina. This croc grew to about 19 feet (5.8 meters) in length and appears to be a close relative of the modern Tomistoma. It may have lived in brackish and salty waters and was adapted to eating fish.

[Read the full story on these predators and their ancient relatives.]

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.