Fossil range: Late Oligocene - Holocene
Mekosuchus inexpectans
Mekosuchus inexpectans
Scientific classification










Balouet & Buffetaut, 1987


  • Mekosuchus inexpectans (type)
  • M. inexpectatus
  • M. kolpokasi
  • M. sanderi
  • M. whitehunterensis

Mekosuchus is a genus of extinct Australasian crocodile within the subfamily Mekosuchinae. It is believed to have been made extinct by the arrival of man on the South Pacific islands where it lived.[citation needed] This genus was small in size and terrestrial, making it the last group of terrestrial crocodilians.

Fossils of related mekosuchines, such as Trilophosuchus, have been found from Miocene Australia (the earliest known mekosuchine is the Eocene genus Kambara), though the mekosuchines had gone extinct in Australia prior to the arrival of humans. Mekosuchus survived until the Holocene, and subfossils have been found in New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Species Edit

There are currently four species of Mekosuchus recognised. The first discovered(and youngest) is the type species M. inexpectatus from the Holocene of New Caledonia which became extinct at some point in the last 4,000 years (with the arrival of man). The poor soils of New Caledonia promote a restriction in large ground-dwelling prey, so Mekosuchus had specialized back teeth for cracking mollusk shells. Another Holocene species is known, M. kolpokasi which lived on the island of Efate, Vanuatu approximately 3,000 years ago (again disappearing with the arrival of man). M. whitehunterensis is the oldest known species, living during the late Oligocene in Queensland. M. sanderi also lived in Queensland but later, during the Miocene.


  • Mead, J.I., Steadman, D.W., Bedford, S.H., Bell, C.J. & Spriggs, M. (2002). New extinct mekosuchine crocodile from Vanuatu, South Pacific. Copeia 2002 (3): 632-641

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