Species: Calsoyasuchus valliceps (Kal-so-ya-soo-kus vah-lee-keps)
What it means: Dr. Calsoyas’ crocodile
Other Species: none
Where I live: Arizona in the U.S.A.- The Kayenta formation
When to find me: The Early Jurassic period, about 196 million years ago.
My favorite food: Fish, turtles, whatever I can catch! I’m a carnivore.
My neighborhood: The Kayenta formation used to be a tropical floodplain, a bit like African savannah today- but no grass or flowers. Ferns cover the open plains, dotted with islands of spiky cycad groves. Rivers crisscross the land with lush tree ferns, ginkgo trees, and conifers. Every year during the wet season the plains turn into a flooded marsh, but the hottest months bring no rain, and the rivers shrink until the plains are almost as dry as the great desert that lies to the north.
A few of my neighbors: A lot of dinosaurs come to the river to drink, like the meat-eating Dilophosaurus, Coelophysis, and Kayentavenator, and the plant-eater Sarahsaurus (an early sauropod). They are pretty tough, so I stay out of their way. Little Scutellosaurus (small armored dinosaur) is quite a bit more friendly, and if I’m lucky might even join me for lunch. Mostly I just bask on the riverbank with the frogs, turtles, or fellow crocodile cousins. I’ll often see a long-tailed pterosaur flying overhead for insects like beetles, dragonflies, an ancient cousin of the moth, and something called a snakefly.
- I am not a crocodile, but I’m a close relative!
- Paleontologists did a CT scan of my skull, and were able to see all sorts of cool things on the inside, like how much things look like modern crocodiles, which is a bit unusual for a croc-cousin as old as I am.
- The group of animals that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and weird croc-cousins like me is called Crocodylomorpha (croc-oh-dill-oh-morf-ah).
- My genus name- Calsoya honors Dr. Kyrill Calsoyas, former principal of Seba Dalkai Navajo Tribal School, who was very gracious in working with Tykoski et. all + souchos, the Greek form of the Egyptian word for crocodile. My species name is a description of a defining feature of the skull- valles (Latin for valley) + cephale (Greek for head) = valley head.
One partial skull, found lying palate-side up. Though incomplete, and exposed portions of the skull were in poor condition, the rest of the skull was very well preserved.
Tykoski, Ronald S.; Rowe, Timothy B.; Ketcham, Richard A.; Colbert, Matthew W. (2002). “Calsoyasuchus valliceps, a new crocodyliform from the Early Jurassic Kayenta Formation of Arizona” (PDF). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. http://www.digimorph.org/specimens/calsoyasuchusvalliceps/calsoyas.pdf
Wikipedia was a huge help in knowing where to start when finding research material and basic information.