Toward the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, during a time known as the Late Cretaceous, a new type of giant predator appeared along the southern coasts of North America. It was a huge species of crocodylian called Deinosuchus. Neither a crocodile nor an alligator, it was an ancestor of both modern groups; it reached weights of many tons and it had some features unique to its own species. Average-sized individuals were bigger than the carnivorous dinosaurs with which they co-existed; the largest specimens were the size of a T-rex. King of the Crocodylians, the biography of these giant beasts, tells the long history of their discovery and reports on new research about their makeup. King of the Crocodylians also deals with the ancient life and geology of the coastal areas where Deinosuchus thrived, its competitors, and its prey, which probably included carnivorous dinosaurs. There is also detailed discussion of the methods used to determine the size of these giant animals, the dating of the fossils, the nature of their living environments, and how we know who ate whom 80 million years ago.
"Schwimmer offers a study of the paleoautecology of a Cretaceous crocodylian, Deinosuchus. Thoughtfully organized, the book's chapter headings reflect answers to some basic questions: How big was it? How old was it? Where was it found? What did it eat? How many species existed? Astute readers will gain insight into the thinking of a practicing vertebrate paleontologist as the author probes these questions [...] "
– Choice, December 2002
"Both thorough and accessible – no easy task – the book opens a wonderful window onto a vanished world. A winner."
– New Scientist, 22 March 2003
Chapter 1. The Life and Times of a Giant Crocodylian
Chapter 2. The Early Paleontology of Deinosuchus
Chapter 3. On the Size of Deinosuchus
Chapter 4. The Age of Deinosuchus
Chapter 5. Deinosuchus Localities and their Ancient Environments
Chapter 6. How Many Deinosuchus Species Existed
Chapter 7. A Genealogy of Deinosuchus
Chapter 8. The Prey of Giants
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David R. Schwimmer, Professor of Paleontology at Columbus State University in Georgia, is an expert on the Late Cretaceous paleontology of the southeastern United States. Author of many papers on Cretaceous vertebrates, he is co-author (with W. J. Frazier) of Regional Stratigraphy of North America, which won the award for “Best Reference Book of the Year” from the Geoscience Information Society.