|Etymology:||Soukhos (Greek) means “crocodile” and mimos (Greek) is the equivalent to “mimic” or “imitator”—given this name because its skull resembled a crocodile|
|Time:||Late Cretaceous period, between 121 and 113 million years ago|
|Diet:||Carnivore, eating primarily fish, eels, and other dinosaurs|
|Maximum Speed:||24 mph|
Does this face look familiar? Suchomimus means “crocodile mimic.” This dinosaur got its name because its skull shape is similar to a crocodile’s.
Want to be big and strong like a Suchomimus? Eat your fish! A slender snoutful of teeth helped this giant catch fish, which probably comprised the bulk of its diet. Pointy but not particularly sharp, Suchomimus’s teeth curved slightly backwards—a great adaptation for holding on to slippery prey. Its nostrils, sitting high on the snout, suggest it may also have hidden in water and ambushed unsuspecting prey.
Courtship and mating: The sail or hump may have been a display feature for mating and intimating other males. Courtship and mating rituals probably varied greatly between theropod species, but typically they may have begun with territorial defense and vocal display followed by mate-attraction displays, courtship feeding, the selection of a nest site, and the raising of young.
Social: Suchomimus may have hunted alone or formed fishing groups. The sail or hump may have played a role in social communication.
At the Zoo: Tomistoma
This large member of the crocodile family is native to southeast Asia, where it prefers swamps and slow-moving rivers. Fish dominates its diet, but it will grab other animals that come into range. Tomistoma comes from the Greek words for “sharp mouth”—a quick snap of the jaws is all it takes to impale prey on its spiky teeth.