Fossil range: Late Triassic
Desmatosuchus BW
Desmatosuchus haplocerus from the Late Triassic of Texas.
Scientific classification








Case, 1920


  • D. haplocerus
  • D. spurensis (type)
  • D. smalli [1]

Desmatosuchus (meaning "link crocodile") is an extinct genus of archosaur belonging to the Order Aetosauria. It was one of the largest aetosaurs, being 5 metres (16 ft) long[2] and about 1.50 m (5 ft) high. It lived during the Late Triassic in Texas.


Desmatosuchus looked like its relatives, possessing an armored body and pig-like head. It had a shovel-like snout and weak teeth that suggest it lived by uprooting soft plants. Like many of its relatives, it had heavy armoured plates along its back, tail, and parts of the underside. However, unlike most other aetosaurs, Desmatosuchus also had two rows of spikes along the sides of its back. The largest spikes, above the shoulders, were 45 centimetres (18 in) long. These probably gave it extra protection against predators.[2]

Two species are currently accepted: D. spurensis and D. smalli [3]. Desmatosuchus chamaensis is recognized as a distinct genus [4], but there is some dispute about whether the name Heliocanthus or Rioarribasuchus applies [5].

Classification and speciesEdit

A revision of Desmatosuchus by Parker (2008) found the lectotype of Episcoposaurus haplocerus to be referable to Desmatosuchus but indeterminate at the species level. Therefore, E. haplocerus was considered to be a nomen dubium and D. spurensis was reinstated as the type species of the genus. Two species were accepted as valid: D. spurensis and D. smalli.[3] Desmatosuchus chamaensis is recognized as a distinct genus,[4] but there is some dispute about whether the name Heliocanthus or Rioarribasuchus applies.[5]

The following cladogram simplified after an analysis presented by Julia B. Desojo, Martin D. Ezcurra and Edio E. Kischlat (2012).


Aetosauroides scagliai


Aetosaurus ferratus

Coahomasuchus kahleorum

Neoaetosauroides engaeus

Calyptosuchus wellesi

Stagonolepis robertsoni

Aetobarbakinoides brasiliensis





Tecovasuchus chatterjeei

Rioarribasuchus chamaensis

Paratypothorax andressorum


Sierritasuchus macalpini

Longosuchus meadei

Lucasuchus hunti

Acaenasuchus geoffreyi


Desmatosuchus haplocerus

Desmatosuchus smalli



  1. ^ Parker, W.G. (2005). A new species of the Late Triassic aetosaur Desmatosuchus (Archosauria:Pseudosuchia). Compte Rendus Palevol 4(4): 327-340.
  2. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 96. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  3. ^ Parker, W.G. (2008). Description of new material of the aetosaur Desmatosuchus spurensis (Archosauria: Suchia) from the Chinle Formation of Arizona and a revision of the genus Desmatosuchus. PaleoBios 28(1): 1-40.
  4. ^ Parker, W.G. (2007). Reassessment of the aetosaur “Desmatosuchus” chamaensis with a reanalysis of the phylogeny of the Aetosauria (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 5(1): 41-68.
  5. ^

Postosuchus BW

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