The Land Before Time species


Fossil range Late Cretaceous
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Superorder Crocodylomorphia
Order Crocodylia
Family Crocodilus
Genus Deinosuchus
Species D. rugosus
D. riograndensis
Synonyms Polydectes
TLBT characters of this species Dil

Deinosuchus is a genus of prehistoric crocodile-like creatures from the Cretaceous, 80 to 73 million years ago. It had wide, strong jaws and a skull as long as a man. The rest of its body has never been found. It could have been 15 m long and weighed more than 16.5 tons.


It had large, robust teeth that were built for crushing, and its back was covered with thick round bony plates. One study indicates that Deinosuchus may have lived for up to 50 years, growing at a similar rate to that of modern crocodilians, but maintaining this growth over a much longer period of time.

Although Deinosuchus was far larger than any modern crocodile or alligator—measuring up to 10 m. (35 ft.) and weighing up to 8.5 metric tons (9.4 short tons)—its overall appearance was fairly similar to its modern relatives.


The first remains were discovered in North Carolina in the 1850s, but it was not until 1909 that the genus was named and described.

Additional fragments were discovered in the 1940s and were later made into an influential, but inaccurate, skull reconstruction at the American Museum of Natural History. Knowledge of Deinosuchus is still incomplete, but better skull material has been found in recent years.

Deinosuchus fossils have been found in ten U.S. states, as well as northern Mexico. It lived on both sides of the Western Interior Seaway, and was an ambush apex predator in the coastal regions of eastern North America.


Deinosuchus reached its largest size in its western habitat, but the eastern populations were far more abundant. Opinion remains divided as to whether these two populations represent separate species. Deinosuchus was probably capable of killing and eating large dinosaurs.[1][2][3] It may have also fed upon sea turtles, fish, and other aquatic and terrestrial prey.


Deinosuchus was classified in the family Crocodylidae by Colbert and Bird, based on teeth that looked like those of crocodiles.[4] But, a re-evaluation run in 1999 by Brochu proved that Deinosuchus was actually a primitive member of Alligatoroidea. Thus, Deinosuchus "is not the world's largest crocodile—it is one of the largest alligators." [5] This classification was helped in 2005 by the finding of a well-preserved Deinosuchus braincase from the Blufftown Formation of Alabama, which shows some traits that looked like of those in the American alligator.[6] While it was a prehistoric member of the same clade, Deinosuchus was not a direct ancestor of modern alligators. Its closest relatives may have been Leidyosuchus and Diplocynodon.[7]

Schwimmer (2002) thought all Deinosuchus specimens came from one species. He noted that there were more similarities than differences between the eastern and western populations, and that most of these differences just had to do with the larger size of the western ones. Under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature's rules of priority, this species would be named D. rugosus.[8] Lucas et al. (2006) thought Deinosuchus had just one species too.[9] But, Brochu (2003) questioned Schwimmer's study, and said that size might be a significant diagnostic feature and that a lot of the traits used by Schwimmer to prove the two were the same are in fact primitive traits shared by other genera as well.[10] Schwimmer (2002) informally called the western populations as D. riograndensis, and researchers, such as Anglen and Lehman (2000) and Westgate et al. (2006) have recently assigned western Deinosuchus remains to this species too.[8][11][12]

Deinosuchus in The Land Before Time

Dil is a Deinosuchus or "Belly Dragger".


Dill the Deinosuchus

A Deinosuchus that looked exactly like Dil was trying to get a sauropod when it fell down during the rain as the Old One tells about her homeland, but it got up and went away just in time to cause the Deinosuchus to miss and went back in the water. Dil is seen hidden under the water when she spots Littlefoot and Ali while finding a way to The Land of Mists. After Littlefoot and Ali go in the other direction, Ichy comes flying through just as Dil sees them go. After the cave collapses from an earthquake, a pile of rocks crashes down causing Littlefoot and Ali to separate and she goes back to the Great Valley to get his friends for help. As Littlefoot wakes up and tries to dig through, Dil appears on the other side of the rock wall just as Ichy does gazing this little sauropod off in the distance. Again, she comes out of the cave as Ichy lands on top of her head, she questions him why and if he spotted their prey, and he did. Dil gets stubborn and hungry causing them to get in an argument as they sing a song.

As she leaves after this, she's pulled back and turned around wanting to see by Ichy when he sights Littlefoot and Archie digging through the piled rocks to get to the other area of the cavern. They give them a chase as they run a find a place to hide. Littlefoot's hiding place is smashed by Dil swinging her tail to break through making the stalactites to fall on Ichy and dodges the falling stalactites plus Dil's tail. He manages to stay alive but the stalactite timbers on him anyway as she finishes breaking through and they try to eat Littlefoot but Archie blocks their way and demands to eat him instead. Just as they attempt though, and Ichy tells Dil to tenderize them by standing up, pushing Archie down as Littlefoot hops onto him and flings them both off giving them another chase. Dil and Ichy both get knocked out by Cera charging through the collapsed cave by their heads and wake up and follow the gang through The Land of Mists and after Cera gets cut off by Ichy when she's being pulled ashore by the gang, Dil (when she can't see clearly) accidentally eats a log mistakenly as Cera and she and Ichy are being hit and distracted by piles of rock by Littlefoot and the gang. Ichy spots Ali when she's saving Cera and tells Dil to go towards her and eat her but she says "but Ichy, you know the routine dinner first then dessert." which he ignores and goes on but crashes into the root of the tree and gets his head stuck.

Dil gets hopped on by Ali using her as a boat to save Cera and tries to shake them off which leads to the large root of the tree she can't see and she bangs into it and can't climb when Ali said that and argues with Ichy. The next scene, Dil turns her head back hoping to never speak to him which he told her to get him out of this mess and finds the gang. She manages to bust Ichy out by snapping of the root with her mouth but still can't get his neck out which she advertently tries one more time to break him loose which Ichy wants her not to do this and tries to pull it off but still snaps off the log and messes him up. That night, she's get tired of looking Littlefoot and the gang but forced by Ichy to keep going while he takes a snooze but tells him he knows she can't see, but immediately bumps four times into a tree. They give them a chase the third time and Dil tries to eat Petrie when Ichy brings out and betrays her because he looks good enough for him but mistakenly bites her tail caused by Tickles when he pulls her tail under him. Dil gets mad at him for what he did and told her he didn't do it and follows them across the river. Dil manages to catch Ducky and eats her while she falls into her mouth but grab onto the branch of the tree causing it to fling back and hit her many times in the process.

The last time she accidentally almost eats Ichy when she tries to eat Ducky and can't see him when he's flung by Spike. Now she leaves him because Ichy says "you're useless" which makes her fling him off by her tail and he is launched far away. Dil goes off in the other direction and bumps into something which was a Hydrotherosaurus in her way as he tries to eat her which she became his prey and she swam away as far as possible. It is unknown if Dil got eaten or not and if she escapes from him or not and neither her or Ichy have been seen since. Dill is, so far the only Belly Dragger that has a name and is capable of speaking.


  1. Colbert, Edwin H. (1961). Dinosaurs: their discovery and their world. E.P. Dutton. p. 243.
  2. Debus, Allen (2002). Dinosaur memories. Authors Choice Press. p. 265. ISBN 0-595-22988-3.
  3. Brochu, Christopher A. (2003). "Review of King of the Crocodylians: the paleobiology of Deinosuchus". Palaios 18 (1): 79–82. doi:10.1669/0883-1351(2003)018<0080:BR>2.0.CO;2.
  4. Colbert, Edwin H; Bird, Roland T. (1954). "A gigantic crocodile from the Upper Cretaceous beds of Texas" (pdf). American Museum Novitates (American Museum of Natural History) 1688: 1–22. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  5. Brochu, Christopher A. (June 14, 1999). "Phylogenetics, Taxonomy, and Historical Biogeography of Alligatoroidea". Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Memoir 6: 9–100. doi:10.2307/3889340. JSTOR 3889340.
  6. Knight, Terrell K.; Schwimmer, David R. (2005). "Anatomy of the skull and braincase of a new Deinosuchus rugosus specimen from the Blufftown Formation, Russell County, Alabama". Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 37 (2): 12. 
  7. Schwimmer, David R. (2002). "A Genealogy of Deinosuchus". King of the Crocodylians: The Paleobiology of Deinosuchus. Indiana University Press. pp. 136–166. ISBN 0-253-34087-X. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Schwimmer, David R. (2002). "How Many Deinosuchus Species Existed?". King of the Crocodylians: The Paleobiology of Deinosuchus. Indiana University Press. pp. 107–135. ISBN 0-253-34087-X.
  9. Lucas, Spencer G.; Sullivan, Robert M.; Spielmann, Justin A. (2006). "The giant crocodylian Deinosuchus from the Upper Cretaceous of the San Juan Basin, New Mexico" (pdf). New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 35: 247.
  10. Brochu, Christopher A. (2003). "Review of King of the Crocodylians: The Paleobiology of Deinosuchus". Palaios 18 (1): 79–82. doi:10.1669/0883-1351(2003)018<0080:BR>2.0.CO;2.
  11. Westgate, James; Brown, R.; Pittman, Jeffrey; Cope, Dana; Calb, Jon (2006). "First occurrences of Deinosuchus in Mexico". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26 (Supplement to 3): 138A.
  12. Anglen, John J.; Lehman, Thomas M. (2000). "Habitat of the giant crocodilian Deinosuchus, Aguja Formation (Upper Cretaceous), Big Bend National Park, Texas". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20 (Supplement to 3): 26A.

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