4. Koolasuchus cleelandi

Cool Cretaceous monster amphibian

The car-sized amphibian Koolasuchus lived alongside dinosaurs in Victoria during the Cretaceous Period. In a head the size of a dustbin lid were dozens of ridged fangs for piercing prey, and two-inch tusks growing from the roof of its mouth.

Resembling something between a huge newt and a crocodile, Koolasuchus was adapted to life in the rushing rivers that once separated Australia and Antarctica. Its fossils are only found at a few beaches and coves in south Gippsland.

Koolasuchus was an unexpected discovery, as it is the long-last member of its lineage, known as the temnospondyls. It lived in Victoria as much as 50 million years after all other temnospondyls went extinct worldwide.

About the animal

Illustration and fossil of Koolasuchus cleelandi

Scientific name

Koolasuchus cleelandi

How do you say its name?

Cool-a-SOO-cuss clee-LAN-die

How big?

About four metres long

When did it live?

 Around 125 million years ago

What did it eat?

Small dinosaurs, turtles, and fish


Fossil facts

Significant Victorian location

San Remo, South Gippsland
Boonwurrung Country

Traditional Owners

Bunurong people

Who found it?

Michael Cleeland

Who named it?

Vertebrate palaeontologist Professor Anne Warren

What is special about it?

It is a 'relic' species that lived 50 million years after its relatives went extinct.

Significance of the fossil

Koolasuchus is unique to Victoria.

Full name and meaning

Named for Michael Cleeland and Lesley Kool, who found the first Koolasuchus fossil and prepared it from surrounding rock.

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