The largest of all reptiles alive today is the saltwater crocodile, a massive carnivore roaming the brackish wetlands of India’s east coast across Southeast Asia to northern Australia.
An adult grew saltwater crocodile is at least 7 meters long and weighs more than one metric ton. Members of crocodilians, these predators can eat everything in their path, including large marine animals such as sharks.
Although far more people die of bee stings each year than of crocodile attacks. Crocodilians have been around since the days of the Dinosaurs. Bite marks found on fossils even suggest they hunted dinosaurs of varying sizes.
As gigantic as saltwater crocodiles can be, they are diminutive in comparison to their ancestors.
For example, the Deinosuchus from North America could reach 12 meters long and weigh 8.5 metric tons; the Sarcosuchus from South America and Africa was shorter at 11.5 meters long and not as heavy at eight metric tons; either was still smaller than the Purussaurus which could grow to 13 meters long and weigh at least ten metric tons.
10 /10 Ancient Caiman
Somewhere in the lakes and swamps of early Amazon about 13 million years ago, a ground sloth wandered too close to the water edge, making itself an easy target for a caiman lurking nearby.
Then the inevitable happened; a strike from beneath caught the ground sloth in the hind leg. The caiman’s teeth punctured deep into the shinbone, inflicting terrible damage.
This kind of injury could only happen with the caiman’s mouth closed over the leg. All evidence pointed to a crocodilian known as Purussaurus. A behemoth in the aftermath of Dinosaurs extinction.
9 /10 Juvenile Purussaurus
According to Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, a senior researcher at Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru, the bite marks on the ground sloth were consistent with the anatomy and dentition of Purussaurus.
Based on the size of the damage, the most likely attacker was a juvenile prehistoric caiman measuring about 4 meters long.
He does not rule out the possibility that the injury happened after death during predation of a carcass.
So far, the shinbone of the ground sloth is the second fossil on record to showcase a Purussaurus attack. The first evidence is a shell of an aquatic turtle.