AskDefine | Define crocodilian

Dictionary Definition

crocodilian n : extant archosaurian reptile [syn: crocodilian reptile]

Extensive Definition

Crocodilia is an order of large reptiles that appeared about 84 million years ago in the late Cretaceous Period (Campanian stage). They are the closest living relatives of birds (the only known living dinosaurs), as the two groups are the only known survivors of the Archosauria. Members of the crocodilian stem group, the clade Crurotarsi, appeared about 220 million years ago in the Triassic Period and exhibited a wide diversity of forms during the Mesozoic Era.
The correct vernacular term for this group is "crocodilians", not "crocodiles," although the latter term is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to alligators and caiman, or even their distant prehistoric relatives, "marine crocodiles".


The group is often spelled 'Crocodylia' for consistency with the genus Crocodylus (Laurenti, 1768). However, Richard Owen used the -i- spelling when he published the name in 1842, so it is generally preferred in the scientific literature . The -i- spelling is also a more accurate Latinization of the Greek κροκόδειλος (krokodeilos, literally "pebble-worm", referring to the shape and texture of the animal).



Cladogram after Brochu (1997).
Eusuchia ├──Hylaeochampsa └──┬──Allodaposuchus └──Crocodilia ├──Gavialoidea │ ├──Eothoracosaurus │ └──┬──Thoracosaurus │ └──┬──Argochampsa │ ├──Eosuchus │ └──Gavialidae └──┬──Borealosuchus └──┬──Pristichampsus └──Brevirostres ├──Alligatoroidea │ ├──Leidyosuchus │ ├─?Deinosuchus │ └──Globidonta │ ├──Stangerochampsa │ ├──Brachychampsa │ └──Alligatoridae └──Crocodyloidea ├──Prodiplocynodon └──┬──Asiatosuchus └──┬──Brachyuranochampsa └──┬──Harpacochampsa └──Crocodylidae

In popular culture

  • Several science fiction movies have giant crocodilians as their stars, such as Lake Placid, DinoCroc, and the crocodile series.
crocodilian in Min Nan: Kho̍k-hî
crocodilian in Bulgarian: Крокодили
crocodilian in Czech: Krokodýli
crocodilian in German: Krokodile
crocodilian in Spanish: Crocodilia
crocodilian in Esperanto: Krokodilulo
crocodilian in French: Crocodilia
crocodilian in Korean: 악어
crocodilian in Croatian: Krokodili
crocodilian in Icelandic: Krókódílaættbálkur
crocodilian in Italian: Crocodilia
crocodilian in Hebrew: תנינאים
crocodilian in Latin: Crocodilia
crocodilian in Latvian: Krokodili
crocodilian in Lithuanian: Krokodilai
crocodilian in Limburgan: Krokodille
crocodilian in Lingala: Ngandó
crocodilian in Hungarian: Krokodilok
crocodilian in Dutch: Krokodilachtigen
crocodilian in Japanese: ワニ
crocodilian in Norwegian: Krokodiller
crocodilian in Norwegian Nynorsk: Krokodilleordenen
crocodilian in Polish: Krokodyle
crocodilian in Portuguese: Crocodilianos
crocodilian in Quechua: Lagartu
crocodilian in Russian: Крокодилы
crocodilian in Simple English: Crocodilia
crocodilian in Slovenian: Krokodili
crocodilian in Serbian: Крокодил
crocodilian in Finnish: Krokotiilieläimet
crocodilian in Swedish: Krokodildjur
crocodilian in Vietnamese: Bộ Cá sấu
crocodilian in Turkish: Crocodilia
crocodilian in Contenese: 鱷魚
crocodilian in Chinese: 鳄目
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