STL Science Center

STL Science Center

05 April 2014

Rows of Plates

From Colbert and Mook 1951
Protosuchus' skeleton demonstrates the mentioned double row of bony plates extremely well. The long almost gracile legs, for a crocodilian, are also clearly evident. The long back legs are well articulated as is the hip joint. The columnar legs and this hip joint belong to an animal that was somewhat speedy and capable of generating adequate power to produce that speed. The shoulder attachments and forelimbs also are clearly visible, as are the muscle attachments that indicate their ability to power that end of the animal. The bony plates along the back were probably the most interesting anatomical structures of the skeleton, when looking at it from a distance as we are doing here. It is evident from the inclusion of three unique species from diverse locations that these bony plates, and the other anatomical adaptations, were successful adaptations benefiting the animal. The strength of this armor plating, but also its flexibility, allowed for Protosuchus to be an aggressive predator that was also at least partially protected from other animals, including members of its own species.

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