Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Amphibia
Subclass Labyrinthodontia
Order Temnospondyli
Suborder Stereospondyli
Family Chigutisauridae
Genus Koolasuchus
1st Species Koolasuchus cleelandi
Other attributes
Time Range 120 mya
Location Australia
Name Meaning Kool's crocodile
Physical Dimensions 2.5 meters long
Dietary Classification Carnivore
Koolasuchus is a chigutisaurid temnospondyl amphibian from the Early Cretaceous of Australia. It was named in 1997 by Anne Warren. It was one of the last temnospondyl amphibians to survive, as well as one of the most adapted for the cold climate of the South Pole.


Koolasuchus resembled a fairly standard temnospondyl. It was a fish-like amphibian with 4 legs, a moderately-sized tail, a broad body, a massive, rounded, semi-flat head with big jaws, and eyes on the top of its head. Its body would have been covered in smooth skin.


Koolasuchus was a predator, preying on fish, smaller amphibians, and small dinosaurs. Its teeth were small yet sharp, and were used to get a hold of struggling prey as the amphibian swallowed them whole.


As a large amphibian, Koolasuchus was surprisingly well-adapted for living in polar climates; a few possible reasons why it was able to survive the cold temperatures of the North Pole could possibly include a slow metabolism that it could completely lower into a state of hibernation, similarly to modern giant salamanders. Another similarity that Koolasuchus shared with modern giant salamanders was its preferred habitat; based on the coarse rocks in which its remains were found, it could be assumed that it lived in fast-moving streams. Due to its size, Koolasuchus was likely a very important predator in its environment, feeding on smaller dinosaurs that wandered too close to the water. In general, like many Paleozoic amphibians, it filled a niche similar to modern crocodiles; in fact, due to warming temperatures later in the Early Cretaceous, crocodylomorphs would migrate to Australia and outcompete Koolasuchus as the freshwater apex predator of the region.

In popular cultureEdit

Koolasuchus was featured in the 5th episode of the 1999 documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, where it is depicted as living alongside and sometimes preying on Leaellynasaura; in this case, it is potentially misplaced through time, as Koolasuchus likely went extinct before Leaellynasaura evolved. Oddly enough, the show correctly acknowledges that Koolasuchus was the apex predator of mid-Cretaceous Australia, before modern crocodylomorphs settled there and drove it to extinction; as well as this, it portrays the large amphibian as being able to hibernate through cold winters, something that may have been true about the real animal.

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