Serrated, 1.5" Fossil Phytosaur Tooth - Arizona
This is a large and serrated, 1.5" long tooth of a Triassic Phytosaur collected from the Chinle Formation of Arizona. There is a repaired crack along one edge of this tooth and the enamel is chipped along both faces. There are a number of genus of phytosaurs who's fossils are found in the same channel deposit. They have nearly identical teeth, but based on the large size of this tooth it more than likely came from Smilosuchus, the largest phytosaur found there.
Phytosaurs are members of the order Phytosauria. These are semiaquatic, crocodile like reptiles characterized by long snouts, conical teeth, short legs and long, low slung bodies. They had skin armored with scale like scutes. It is not clearly understood when Phytosaurus evolved. A number of apparently antecedent species have been found in the fossil record but their relationship to Phytosaurs is still being debated. Phytosaurus disappears from the fossil record during the Triassic- Jurassic Extinction, about 200 million years ago.