Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. He is the author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), Dragons: A Natural History (1995), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), The Unexplained (1996), From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), The Hidden Powers of Animals (2001), The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (2013), The Menagerie of Marvels (2014), A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), Here's Nessie! (2016), and what is widely considered to be his cryptozoological magnum opus, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors (2016) - plus, very excitingly, his first two long-awaited, much-requested ShukerNature blog books (2019, 2020).

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Saturday 2 March 2024


Representation of the gbahali based upon eyewitness descriptions (© Tim Morris)

Since 1900, the West African country of Liberia, still plentifully supplied with coastal mangrove swamps and interior rainforests, and long deemed a biodiversity hotspot by zoologists, has been the scene of at least four major zoological discoveries of species new to science or rediscoveries of species believed extinct. Namely, the giant forest hog Hylochoerus meinertzhageni, the pygmy hippopotamus Choeropsis liberiensis, Jentink's duiker Cephalophus jentinki, and the Liberian mongoose Liberiictis kuhni.

All of these are mammals, of course, but there is also some thought-provoking evidence to suggest that a fifth major zoological find is still waiting to be made here – and this time of the reptilian variety.

West Africa's dwarf crocodile, note its short snout (public domain)

Four species of crocodilian are known to exist in Liberia. These are the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus, the West African dwarf crocodile Osteolaemus tetraspis, the West African slender-snouted crocodile Mecistops cataphractus, and the West African or sacred crocodile C. suchus (only quite recently delineated from the Nile crocodile as a valid distinct species in its own right). The first two are restricted to this country's coastal swamps, and are considered rare, as is the third (a little-studied, human-avoiding species), whereas the fourth one, which occurs further inland, is quite common.

West African slender-snouted crocodile (© Thesupermat/Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

However, native Liberians also speak of a fifth crocodile-like creature, currently unknown to science, which they refer to as the gbahali (pronounced 'bar-hye'), and consider to be larger and more dangerous than even the Nile crocodile – itself a highly aggressive, notorious man-eater that can grow up to 21 ft long.

The gbahali first attracted widespread Western attention on 20 December 2007, when veteran American cryptozoologist Loren Coleman published on the mystery beast website Cryptomundo a communication that he had received the previous day. It was from a correspondent named John-Mark Sheppard (some accounts spell his surname as Shephard) – an American missionary working at that time with an international relief and development organisation in northernmost Liberia's Lofa County, near this country's border with Guinea.

In his communication, Sheppard revealed that he had learnt from the indigenous people there about several strange, unidentified creatures that may be of potential cryptozoological interest, including the gbahali. He had spoken to a number of alleged eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen the latter mystery beast in recent years, and according to their testimony, as documented by Sheppard:

It is described as being like a crocodile or monitor lizard, but much larger (up to 25 or 30 ft long). It has an armored back with three rows of serrations running down it, a powerful tail, and a short snout with many large teeth. It is known to be an ambush predator, carrying its prey underwater to drown before coming on shore to eat it.

Sheppard even travelled to a village deep in the Liberian rainforest where the fishermen claimed to have actually caught gbahali specimens, using nets to capture them and shotguns to kill them, before butchering their carcases for meat, which they then sold at local markets. They had even preserved the skull of one such specimen, which had been retained in the village until rebels invaded it during this country's civil war (which ended in 2003) and set it ablaze, destroying everything there, including that scientifically-precious gbahali skull.

When interviewing the villagers, Sheppard showed them various illustrations of modern-day and prehistoric crocodilians and crocodilian-like animals that he had downloaded from the internet. Of these, the creature that they considered most similar in appearance to the gbahali was an artistic reconstruction of the likely appearance in life of a prehistoric reptile from North America's Late Triassic Period, known as Postosuchus. This very sizeable beast, up to 6 m long, belonged to a long-extinct taxonomic family whose members, known as rauisuchians, were related to crocodilians.

Representation of the possible appearance in life of Postosuchus in quadrupedal mode (© Nobu Tamura/Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

The locals stated that the head and body of Postosuchus as depicted in the artistic reconstruction resembled that of the gbahali, but that its legs were more erect (i.e. supporting its body from below) than the gbahali's, which are allegedly semi-erect in stance (i.e. more sprawling), like those of crocodilians.

Continuing his narrative, Sheppard stated:

The river in which these creatures are said to live is very remote, passing through large areas of uninhabited forest. They are said to mainly be seen during the rainy season, when they travel upstream to look for food. They are greatly feared by the local population, because they have been known to kill people.

Indeed, according to Sheppard one such incident may have occurred as recently as November 2007, just a month before he had sent his communication to Coleman. A man had been attacked and killed by a possible gbahali near a village named Gelema, on that selfsame river. When the United Nations police were sent there to investigate this incident, all that they could find was the victim's head and a few body parts that the creature had left behind on the river bank. This ties in with local claims mentioned above by Sheppard whereby the gbahali drowns its victim, then comes ashore with their dead body to consume it there.

Worthy of note, incidentally, is that back when Gelema's official town meeting house was built, its length was deliberately constructed so as to correspond with that of a gbahali that had been killed there some years previously. Consequently, this grim mystery beast would indeed appear to be native to the area encompassing Gelema.

Also of interest, as specifically pointed out by Sheppard when concluding his account of the gbahali, the local people do not consider this beast to be in any way magical or supernatural. Instead, they simply look upon it as just another normal, ordinary animal native to their locality (albeit a very large, dangerous one), nothing more – which in turn tends to lend plausibility to their testimony concerning it.

Sheppard ended with a tantalizingly brief mention of a photograph that had supposedly been taken of a gbahali sometime in the previous 10 years during an attempt to capture this creature, but he made no mention of what had happened to it, always assuming of course that such a picture had indeed been obtained.

After spending many years behind the camera as a first-rate, highly-acclaimed film/TV cameraman and cinematographer, in 2017 Paul 'Mungo' Mungeam stepped in front of it to present a new cryptozoology-themed TV documentary show entitled Expedition Mungo. Each of its episodes (filmed in 2016 and early 2017) saw him and his own film crew visit a different location around the world allegedly inhabited by a mysterious creature seemingly unknown to science. One of these episodes saw them in Liberia's Lofa County, seeking the gbahali, and where they actually interviewed Sheppard on screen.

Rainforest in Liberia's Lofa County (©) M Rödel et al./Wikipedia – CC BY 4.0 licence)

Mungo's gbahali expedition focused its attention upon the Kahai River and its tributaries, where this greatly-feared creature is known by the locals to exist and where, therefore, they avoid as much as possible unless it is absolutely essential to cross from one riverbank to another or to hunt for food there. One villager named Momo informed Mungo that he and his brother had encountered a ghahali on land once while they were hunting on the Kahai River, but once seen it disappeared into the water.

Discounting the possibility that it was merely a crocodile, Momo stated that its head was lizard-like but with its eyes placed far back on it, a trait often exhibited by aquatic animals, and its teeth were interlocking. Moreover, although it walked on all fours like a crocodile, its body was raised up, held off the ground to a greater degree than a crocodile's is. He also mentioned to Mungo that one such creature had killed and devoured three men who had been attempting to cross the Kahai on a raft at dusk.

Similarly, another alleged gbahali eyewitness interviewed by Mungo, a man named Isaac from Monena, a remote Liberian frontier village, recalled an oft-told claimed killing of a man in a shallow river by a gbahali. The man had been attempting to cross the river on foot to reach a party of fisherman friends on the far bank. His friends told him not to cross, because a gbahali had been seen there earlier that same day, but he ignored their advice and proceeded to wade across. Before he could reach the other side, however, a gbahali surfaced, seized the man, and dragged him beneath the water, never to be seen again.

As for Isaac's own sighting, which had occurred not long before Mungo had arrived at Monena in early 2017: just like Momo, Isaac had been fishing with his own brother on the river nearby when he saw something swimming towards his brother:

He turned around and said: "It looks like a crocodile". I said: "Hey, that is not a crocodile, that is an animal bigger than a crocodile". We're talking about the Gbahali...The mouth was in the form of a lizard.

Isaac estimated the gbahali to have measured around 20 ft long, and insisted that it was very different in appearance from a crocodile.

Also interviewed by Mungo at Monena was fisherman Seiku, who divides his time between this village and a camp on an even more remote stretch of the Kahai. Seiku claimed to have seen a gbahali twice during his travails along this route in September 2016, again not long before Mungo's arrival here.

Several other villagers interviewed by Mungo at Monena also claimed to have seen a gbahali, but as Sheppard had discovered earlier during his own investigations, they did not consider it to be in any way magical or paranormal, just a normal, ordinary creature like all of the other animal species inhabiting this locality.

Sadly, Mungo and his team did not have any sightings of their own, but if, as fervently averred by Liberia's Lofa County hunters and fishermen, the gbahali is indeed a real, flesh-and-blood beast, what might it be?

Nile crocodile (© Timothy A Gonsalves/Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 4.0 licence)

The most conservative identity is the Nile crocodile (Liberia's other three crocodile species are much too small and/or wary of human proximity). Although officially confined to this country's coastal swamps, perhaps some stragglers have penetrated further inland, reaching rivers, tributaries, and surrounding terrain containing plenty of suitable prey, enabling them to thrive and establish viable populations there, and possibly eventually attaining greater sizes than their coastal ancestors, their increased weight readily buoyed by their watery habitat.

Yet the locals are adamant that the gbahali is no ordinary crocodile, or even a crocodile at all, emphasizing its short-snouted, lizard-like head and its more erect limbs as notable differentiating features. Also, its claimed behaviour of killing its prey in the water by drowning it but then bringing it onto land to consume it differs from typical crocodile feeding behaviour, in which the prey is normally eaten in the water, the latter being utilized as a means of softening the prey's carcase for easier consumption.

An alternative crocodilian option to consider is an unknown giant-sized species or morphological variety of West Africa's Osteolaemus dwarf crocodile. This is certainly appealing, inasmuch as it would combine the latter's shorter muzzle and more terrestrial lifestyle as reported also for the gbahali with the gbahali's extra-large size. 

Looking beyond crocodiles, Liberia is home to some sizeable monitor lizards (varanids), including the West African Nile monitor Varanus stellatus, up to 7.2 ft long, whose heads, more erect stance than crocodiles, and terrestrial consumption of prey recall the gbahali. However, the latter's great size (even allowing for exaggeration upon the part of its frightened eyewitnesses) and its very distinctive armoured, tri-serrated dorsal surface do not.

Nile monitor with body raised on semi-erect legs (© Charles J Sharp/Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 4.0 licence)

Now for the Postosuchus possibility. On the one hand, as noted earlier here, in terms of both shape and size a reconstruction illustration of this creature was compared quite favourably with the gbahali's alleged appearance by the villagers to whom Sheppard showed it. Also, its fossils have been found in locations believed to have hosted back in the time of Postosuchus an environment similar to the present-day habitat in Liberia where the gbahali reputedly exists, i.e. tropical, moist, and plant-plentiful, well-supplied with rivers and other expanses of freshwater.

Conversely, Postosuchus belongs to a long-extinct, wholly prehistoric family of reptiles known only from what is now North America, and existing during the late Triassic Period, i.e. approximately 201-237 million years ago – none of which bodes well for it being a plausible identity for the gbahali.

True, we cannot entirely rule out the prospect that the latter constitutes a modern-day Old World descendant of Postosuchus that has somehow entirely evaded scientific detection (like its presumed fossil antecedents here), especially in such a heavily-forested remote region as northern Liberia. Nevertheless, the further back in time that the original creature existed, and the further away geographically-speaking that it existed from where its postulated descendant does today, the less likely such an example of prehistoric survival is, by definition.

In addition, based upon its shorter forelegs, Postosuchus is nowadays commonly deemed to have been at least partly, if not exclusively, bipedal, whereas the gbahali is wholly quadrupedal. Also, Postosuchus is believed to have been terrestrial, rather than aquatic or at least amphibious in lifestyle as the gbahali is stated to be.

Postosuchus depicted in bipedal stance and compared in size with a human (Dr Jeff Martz-NPS/Wikipedia, released into the public domain)

Another putative prehistoric survivor that has been considered as a possible gbahali candidate is some form of modern-day descendant of Kaprosuchus saharicus. This was a 20-ft-long semi-aquatic species of mahajangasuchid crocodyliform that sported an armoured snout for slamming its prey down, plus three pairs of sizeable tusks for tearing the latter's flesh. These teeth have earned for it the nickname 'BoarCroc', due to their superficial resemblance to the tusks of wild boars.

Unlike Postosuchus, K. saharicus, as its name indicates, did live in Africa (its fossilized remains have been excavated in what is today Niger), but approximately 95 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous. Consequently, it is beset by much the same chronological issues as Postosuchus when under consideration as a plausible example of prehistoric survival.

Reconstruction of possible appearance in life of Kaprosuchus Nobu Tamura/Wikipedia – CC BY 3.0 licence)

If only there could be a known, historically-recent creature resembling and behaving rather like the gbahali. In fact, there is – or was. The mekosuchines constitute a taxonomic clade of crocodilians that included certain representatives which persisted into the present-day geological epoch, the Holocene (beginning less than 12,000 years ago), on various Pacific island groups, including Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia.

Indeed, one genus, Mekosuchus, survived on those islands until at least as recently as 3,000 years ago, possibly even longer (as late as 1720 BP, i.e. 300 AD, in the case of the youngest species, M. inexpectatus), before apparently being exterminated when humans arrived there (although, tellingly, there is no direct evidence for this, only speculation based upon the fates of other island endemics once our own species reached their insular domains). Various other, older mekosuchine genera, such as Quinkana, as well as earlier Mekosuchus representatives, formerly existed on mainland Australia.

Mekosuchus inexpectatus, showing neck and short snout (© Armin Reindl/Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 4.0 licence)

M. inexpectatus in particular was notable for its short snout, and like its other historically-recent Mekosuchus kin is thought to have adopted a much more upright stance and mode of walking than any of today's known crocodilians, all of which draws comparisons with the gbahali. So too does the consensus that M. inexpectatus probably inhabited tropical rivers and streams, just like West Africa's present-day dwarf crocodiles, possibly coming onto land at night to feed.

In stark contrast to the gbahali, however, mekosuchines were of only very modest dimensions, generally no more than 6 ft in total length, sometimes even shorter than that. Also, just as Postosuchus is known only from the New World, mekosuchines are known only from Oceania; there is none on record from Africa, or anywhere else in the world.

Reconstruction of Mekosuchus inexpectatus in life Apokryltaros/Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

Even so, the mekosuchines are relevant to the gbahali saga inasmuch as their existence, albeit far-removed geographically from the latter cryptid, confirms that at least some crocodilians of comparable appearance to it (excluding total length) are indeed known from modern times, thus providing a notable precedent – and that may not be all.

Convergent evolution is a familiar phenomenon whereby animals in widely disparate geographical localities and often of only distant taxonomic affinity nevertheless transform through time into outwardly similar creatures due to sharing the same ecological habitat and niche. So could it be that ecologically-speaking, the taxonomically-distant gbahali has nonetheless evolved a mekosuchine morphology by existing in a habitat comparable to that of the latter crocodilians, but has attained a much greater size due to its habitat's remote location coupled with the fear that it generates among human hunters, who generally prefer to avoid it rather than confront it? As suggested earlier here, a giant-sized Osteolaemus comes to mind.

In short (unlike the gbahali itself, which is allegedly anything but short!), could Liberia's mystery reptile be a totally novel, as well as a currently undescribed, species of African crocodilian?

Alternatively, turning full circle through the succession of identities considered here, might this cryptid simply be an unusually large form of Nile crocodiles after all? The reason that I've returned to this option is that I am well aware that there is a common tendency among local non-scientific people who intimately share their lives alongside large, potentially dangerous creatures to give a completely separate name to exceptionally large specimens of such a species from the name that they give to normal-sized specimens of that same species, treating the outliers as a fundamentally different animal type from their typically-sized brethren.

So might it simply be that reports of gbahalis are nothing more than reports of exceptionally large Nile crocodiles that have been given this separate local name?

The problem with such a proposed resolution to the gbahali mystery, however, is that we can only accept this by conveniently ignoring the other morphological, and behavioural, differences from normal Nile crocodiles that the locals ascribe to the gbahali – which in my opinion would be very unwise.

The Nile crocodile's very long snout, differing markedly from the gbahali's supposed short snout according to eyewitness testimony (© Reinhold Möller/Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 4.0 licence)

History has shown time and again how, by taking heed of local, native testimony, extraordinary animals hitherto dismissed by Western zoologists as mere folklore have been formally discovered and revealed to be remarkable species entirely new to science.

So, might the gbahali one day prove to be another one? In view of the giant forest hog, pygmy hippo, Jentink's duiker, and the Liberian mongoose, I'd have to think more than twice before betting against such a prospect.

For full details concerning the discoveries of the four Liberian mammals noted above, be sure to check out my three books on new and rediscovered animals:




  1. Never heard of the ghabali before, thanks for posting Karl! I find those weird Triassic crocodiles an endlessly fascinating topic, and consider them curiously underexposed in popular culture next to dinosaurs, pterosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles and the like. It is hence extremely interesting that people today report seeing animals unattested to by mainstream science, that from descriptions sound extremely similar to those weird prehistoric crocodiles.

  2. Great post about the gbahali ! Really awesome to hear more about this cryptid, a very cool and unique species of unknown megafauna, would be Awesome discovery! Certainly needs more conservation surveys in Liberia, which could eventually find the enigmatic gbahali. On the identity of the gbahali or what kinda crocodilian it could be, it also could be a close relative of the dwarf crocodile osteolaemus, which comprises of three distinct species, the African dwarf crocodile osteolaemus tetrapsis from Gabon, parts of central Africa, and the cameroon, the Congo dwarf crocodile osteolaemus osborni from the Congo basin and parts of the Cameroon. And a third species osteolaemus sp. yet to be officially named from west Africa such as Liberia, Ghana, and Gambia. https://www.amnh.org/research/science-news/2008/dwarf-crocodiles-split-into-three-species
    Dwarf crocodiles are the second most terrestrial, and also among the most terrestrial crocodilian species on the planet currently know, while Cuban crocodiles are the most terrestrial species yet known. Dwarf crocodile inhabit rainforest habitats, small streams in the rainforest, ponds, and sometimes adjacent rivers. And also forage on land in the forest looking for terrestrial prey and also eat a lot of millipedes, and other terrestrial prey, and also crustaceans, and freshwater species, more so during the wetter months, while during the dry season when no water is around continue to feed and forage on terrestrial prey, and or estivate until the rains return.
    Also regarding the Nile crocodiles, I’m unaware of Nile crocodiles inhabiting west Africa, from what I’ve read only the west African crocodile crocodylus suchus is present in west Africa, though crocodylus niloticus could be inhabiting parts of the county in small numbers perhaps, or more abundant. There’s a book on crocodilians called “biology and evolution of crocodylians” which has the ranges of the two crocodylus species the Nile, and west African croc, as well as the three species of dwarf crocs, and the two slender snouted croc species on page 11 https://books.google.com/books?id=0mYlBgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=crocodiles+evolution+and+biology&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&source=gb_mobile_search&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwilmZS-2NqEAxW0I0QIHb2YCicQ6AF6BAgNEAM#v=onepage&q=crocodiles%20evolution%20and%20biology&f=false
    Also apologies for going an a tangent,
    Regarding what the gbahali could be, it’s possibly it could be an evolved relative or descendant of the giant dwarf crocodile from Miocene Kenya called kinyang
    The gbahali could also be a descendant of the fully terrestrial sebecid crocodiles which were present in Africa at a time, could be a species that evolved a more semi aquatic lifestyle.

    1. Don't worry about going on a tangent, I find all the information about dwarf crocodiles quite interesting. And amusing that there used to be an animal people call a "giant dwarf crocodile".

    2. Thanks! Yeah, dwarf crocodiles are quite an interesting croc species, there’s ones that live in caves and are genetically distinct from the dwarf crocs in the rainforest on the surface and are orange, eating just bats, alge, and crickets. A lot of mystery about those crocs. Also dwarf crocs are heavy armored and even have armored eyelids which is pretty cool. And the Congo dwarf crocodile is the most vibrantly colored species with copper golden yellow brown colors and bronze. And some are more yellow gold. There’s a documentary on YouTube about the Congo dwarf crocodile from living zoology and there is also cool footage of the dwarf crocodile, also some cool footage of the dwarf crocodiles from a documentary called cave crocs of Gabon, and there are some interesting clips on the smithsonian channel on YouTube with the dwarf crocs hunting on land and in the water like an alligator snapping turtle. Also very true indeed, certainly a peculiar name like the giant dwarf crocodile sure sounds perplexing, I guess the reason is that dwarf crocs Are the only modern representatives of osteolaeminae clade of crocs. Also another osteolaemine crocodile that is also sometimes called a giant dwarf crocodile is voay robustus of Madagascar, which was a 16 foot horned crocodile with similar ecology to the dwarf crocodile and Cuban crocodile, and spending a lot of time on land hunting terrestrial prey and prey in the swamps. Also voay robustus was also living with and coexisted with the Nile crocodiles which swam to Madagascar thousands of years go. Also Quite interestingly it looks very similar to a Cuban crocodile in morphology but being much more robust. Convergently evolved Similar niche as the Cuban crocodile and dwarf crocodile mainly hunting terrestrial prey, but also hunting in the water, Swamps, and streams. Though interestingly Cuban crocodiles in the Bahamas and Dominican Republic were living in fully terrestrial environments from stable isotopic data from the bones found in the blue holes. Wonder if voay robustus was living in fully terrestrial ecosystems or more so in certain localities were the water was less abundant with only terrestrial prey. Also it’s possible that voay robustus could still persist today in Madagascar in remote swamps, and evon hekkala research on the horned croc of Madagascar and other crocs found it persisted much more recently than thought, and that local people distinguished two distinct crocodiles species living in Madagascar. Also a paper on the most recent study on the horned crocodile which is quite intriguing https://anatomypubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ar.25367

    3. Now there are even more youtube rabbitholes to go down! It looks like you don't even have to go back to the Triassic to find unusual crocodile species that receive curiously little attention from popular culture.

    4. Very true indeed! There’s quite a lot more diversity of unique crocs during the Cenozoic than expected. And more to be discovered, there’s even a new ziphodont fully terrestrial crocodile from the Pleistocene related to Quinkana that is yet to be published there’s a preview paper on it called “A new ziphodont eusuchian from the Pleistocene of Queensland, and implications for Australasia's ziphodont crocodylian diversity”

  3. Also regarding the possibility it could be a mekosuchine crocodile, interestingly there was a fossils found of a mekosuchine relative based on phylogenetic studies. Called “Crocodylus" megarhinus from Eocene Egypt, though also through phylogenetic studies it’s placed outside the genus crocodylus in many recent phylogenetic studies.
    Also could be as mentioned another unknown Crocodylomorph that is unknown from the Cenozoic era.
    Also regarding mekosuchines which were present in Australia, New Guinea and Oceania. Mekosuchus itself was a fully terrestrial carnivore that had a similar ecology niche to monitor lizards and were even semi arboreal, or very good climbers like monitor lizards. It had very robust limb bones and muscle attachments, which resembles those of monitor lizards, and theirs a really cool video on YouTube about this, and talks about other terrestrial mekosuchines of Oceania called Bio-geographical questions of large reptile dispersal across Australia and the South West Pacific. Source
    Shows and Talks about mekosuchus limb bones an it’s resembles and Similarity to monitor limb bones at 47:38 in the video
    Also besides mekosuchus, volia, trilophosuchus, and Quinkana itself we’re also fully terrestrial carnivores. Though Quinkana was larger at 3m to 6m and was far more specialist for life on land and had ziphodont dentition like theropod dinosaurs such as allosaurus and like sebecids such as barinasuchus. It also has a modified pelvis like postosuchus for a pillar stance, and like sebecids as well and plannocranids such as boverisuchus. Also mekosuchus, volia, and trilophosuchus has other adaptations for terrestrial predation. https://www.app.pan.pl/archive/published/app61/app001342014.pdf

    Also in the past Cuban crocodiles lived in fully terrestrial ecosystems in th Bahamas and Dominican Republic and preyed on ground sloths based on isotopic data from Cuban croc Bones found in blue holes
    Source https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275271413_Domination_by_Reptiles_in_a_Terrestrial_Food_Web_of_the_Bahamas_Prior_to_Human_Occupation

    Also in regards to mekosuchus, it’s very likely mekosuchus could very likely still persist today in New Guinea, and perhaps even the Solomon Islands and other South Pacific remote islands. It’s small, fully terrestrial, and a very good climber, and a ecological equivalent to a monitor lizard. Also new species of monitors have been found in new Guinean as recently as 2023, and giant 3 foot arboreal rats found back in 2017 in the Solomon Islands. So it’s likely there might be a new species of persisting mekosuchus on one of these islands one day, would br an incredible find! Just as finding the gbahali. Also it makes sense there hasn’t been reports of mekosuchus since no one has asked local people of small land crocs, since land crocodiles are surprisingly obscure, and local in New Guinea call monitor lizards tree crocodiles, so that add to the confusion.

    1. Thanks for the links and more theories, it pleases me to encounter someone who's an even bigger nerd about weird prehistoric crocodile species than I am.

      I discovered the entire topic through PBS Eons' videos about thalattosuchians (When Crocs Took to the High Seas), rauisuchians (When Dinosaur Look-A-Likes Ruled the Earth) and others.

    2. 👍 Indeed! Also thanks, There sure is a lot of unique species of crocodilians more than I initially thought.

      Also that’s awesome, PBS Eons’ video are really great, a lot of things I learned about as well with some of those unique crocodilians. Also those are some really cool types of crocodiles,
      thalattosuchians are a very cool and intriguing group of marine crocs, convergent with the famous mosasaurus, also interestingly there was a marine gharial that live in New Guinea during the Pleistocene and possibly the Holocene. Though wasn’t quite as specialized as thalattosuchians with the tail flukes, flippers, and more streamline with heavier reduced armor.

      Also the Rauisuchians are another really cool, and fascinating group of crocs. There was those Bipedal ones, and others that were herbivorous, terrestrial, heavily armored, and agile.
      What’s also intriguing is that the Triassic Bipedal crocodiles actually made it to the Cretaceous from fossil track ways found that was made from a bipedal crocodile in South Korea called Batrachopus grandis.

    3. I had no idea that any rauisuchians made it as far as the Cretaceous, someone joked in the comments to PBS Eons' video about rauisuchians that they looked more like old fashioned reconstructions of dinosaurs than it turns out that actual dinosaurs did. I guess a lot of people have a difficult time adjusting to imagining dinosaurs looking more like modern day birds than lizards?

      By the way if you are not familiar with palaeo-artist Johan Egerkrans, check out his work ASAP. He does complex, humourous and colourful illustrations of dinosaurs that look more bird-like than lizard-like, often focusing on less well known species. For example his tyrannosaurs are clearly inspired by vultures, his deinonychi look like giant roadrunners, his microraptors like a cross between rooks and magpies, even sauropods which he depicts as more lizard-like than other dinosaurs he gives still traits clearly reminiscent of geese and swans.

      My favourite has to be his illustration of Cryolophosaurus, a theropod dinosaur native to Antarctica, which he gives similar plumage and colouration to a modern day snowy owl!

    4. Indeed! Though it could be another type of crocodile that evolved a bipedal stance, very intriguing find. Also that is quite fascinating how rauisuchians looked more like the old fashion art of dinos, which is quite interesting.
      Also I haven’t heard about this artist before, I’m surprised I haven’t yet because wow! This artwork is incredibly epic, and totally awesome! Also true that, that Cryolophosaurus art piece is really cool! Very awesome seeing snowy owl like plumage and coloration and marking inspiration for the Cryolophosaurus, very fitting. And the art style is also really quite awesome as well. Also really cool that the tyrannosaurs and microraptors are also inspired by distinct and cool bird species, also about the sauropods that’s amazing, lizards, swans, and geese inspiration sounds quite awesome, and looks really epic as well. Also on the topic of cryptids Wonder what the mokele mbembe might be? Sauropod? or something with Similar in morphology to a sauropod?

  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkwhKoJ_O1Q

  5. "there is a common tendency among local non-scientific people who intimately share their lives alongside large, potentially dangerous creatures to give a completely separate name to exceptionally large specimens of such a species from the name that they give to normal-sized specimens of that same species, treating the outliers as a fundamentally different animal type from their typically-sized brethren."
    I'm sure this is true, but I don't think science itself is not entirely immune to making this distinction. For how long was the grizzley bear classified as a separate species to the North American brown bear?

  6. Dr Karl Shuker, it would be awesome to see a post in the future about the mysterious and quite incredible Urufere of South America’s Amazon jungle in Brazil and Guyana. Reported from the Wai-wai people the creature is said to be a very large land carnivore like a crocodile with big teeth and a powerful booming roar and very vibrant colors like a Jaguar. Not a lot I could find about this cryptid but likely still extant but critically endangered, also sounds like it’s a surviving land crocodile known as a sebecid like barinasuchus.