Smilosuchus gregorii is considered to be brachyrostral, a “short snouted” form of phytosaur. The strong and broad jaws of S. gregorii are specialized for capturing and holding struggling prey. Smilosuchus would have likely employed a strategy of ambush predation, waiting motionless in the water and taking unknowing prey by surprise. It could have preyed upon medium to large prey, and this feeding strategy is similar to that seen in modern crocodilians today (1).
S. gregorii has three different tooth types, each with different functions. The front set of teeth are highly enlarged, and are hypothesized to be used for killing smaller-sized prey instantly with one blow. The next set of teeth is strongly arched and very firmly anchored. The strength of these teeth would have allowed S. gregorii to seize, hold, and drown prey of larger sizes. The teeth in the back of the jaw had sharp cutting edges, used to slash flesh off prey animals. The combination of these three tooth subtypes would have allowed S. gregorii to prey upon a diversity of food sources, giving it a more flexible feeding strategy (1).
- 1. Hungerbühler, Axel. "Heterodonty in the European phytosaur Nicrosaurus kapffi and its implications for the taxonomic utility and functional morphology of phytosaur dentitions." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20.1 (2000): 31-48.
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