Australia’s prehistoric ‘swamp king’ crocodile was over 5 meters long, according to a new study

Australian researchers dubbed a newly classified prehistoric crocodile “king of the swamp”, believing it could have reached 5 meters and would look like its modern descendants if they were “on steroids”.

The findings of Jorgo Ristevski, a doctoral student at the University of Queensland, and his colleagues were published this week in the journal PeerJ.

Since 1886, researchers have called the prehistoric crocodiles of that era Pallimnarchus pollens, based on fossil fragments found in southeastern Queensland.

The holotype of the Paludirex vincenti specimen.Jorgo Ristevski

But recent examinations of a partial skull found in the 1980s by Australian fossil collector Geoff Vincent showed features new enough to be the “basis for erecting a new genus and species – Paludirex vincenti”, according to the newspaper.

“So we named the new genus Paludirex, a name that my co-author, Dr. Adam Yates, invented, which means ‘king of the swamp’ in Latin,” said Ristevski in an interview with PeerJ. “The species name, vincenti, is a tribute to the late Mr. Geoff Vincent.”

Researchers at the University of Queensland say the ‘swamp king’ would have grown to at least five meters in length.Jorgo Ristevski

Ristevski painted a picture of this terrifying beast that would have been “one of the biggest predators in southeastern Queensland during the Pliocene Period, between 5.33 and 2.58 million years ago.”

“If you were to imagine Paludirex vincenti in life, you probably would have looked like an Indo-Pacific crocodile on steroids!” according to Ristevski.

The fearsome creature probably feasted on large prehistoric kangaroos and giant diprotodontid marsupials that lived near the lakes, rivers and swamps of southeastern Queensland.