An 11 metre-long life-size replica of one of the world’s greatest crocodiles will go on display at the Museum from early December 2014.
The Sarcosuchus imperator (SuperCroc) was one of one of the largest crocodyliforms to roam Earth.
SuperCroc is based on a 1.5 metre giant Sarcosuchus skull found in the Sahara Desert, by palaeontologist, Dr Paul Sereno - a National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence.
Its genuine ancestor roamed the world 110 million years ago, in what is now the windswept Ténéré Desert, Central Niger - home of the richest dinosaur beds in Africa. When the fossilised jaws were found, palaeontologists knew it was no dinosaur. In fact - it was a dinasour eater! The snout and teeth were designed for grabbing prey - fish, turtles and dinosaurs that strayed too close. This enormous reptile made Africa's ancient riverbanks a very dangerous place.
Sarcosuchus had a substantial overbite - its jaws studded with more than 100 teeth, including a row of massive bone-crushing teeth. The oversized, bulbous snout end covered a huge cavity believed to have given the giant croc an enhanced sense of smell and unusual call. Its eye sockets tilted upward, allowing it to scan the river’s edge while concealing its huge body underwater.
Sarcosuchus took 50 to 60 years to reach its adult length of 40 feet (just over 12 metres) and weighed 8 tons – many times that of a modern croc. Interestingly, Sarcosuchus is not related to any living crocs. Amongst the very largest crocodyliform (crocodile-like animals) ever to have lived, Sarcosuchus evolved outside the group that gave rise to all living crocodiles.
SuperCroc is an Australian Museum Touring Exhibition and was donated to the Australian Museum by National Geographic Channel.