Michael Stein
PhD Candidate
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 5125

Room 555
Biological Sciences North (D26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052

Member of the Coalition for Research into the Evolution of Australian Terrestrial Ecosystems (CREATE)

Topics in the Postcranial Morphology of Australian Crocodiles

Throughout the Cenozoic, an endemic radiation of the Superfamily Crocodyloidea existed in Australia. Willis (1995) included this radiation in the subfamily Mekosuchinae. Currently the subfamily Mekosuchinae consists of eight genera – Pallimnarchus, Australosuchus, Kambara, Baru, Trilophosuchus, Quinkana, Mekosuchus and Volia – encompassing seventeen species (Willis 1995; Salisbury & Willis1996; Molnar et al. 2002). Previously, crania have been the main source of knowledge of Mekosuchine crocodiles. Over the past decade, fossil sites such as Riversleigh, north-western Queensland, Murgon, south-eastern Qld and Alcoota, Northern Territory, have yielded a considerable amount of fossil postcranial material. The primary aim of this project is to examine this material for further useful data that might refine understanding of the phylogeny and palaeoecology of Mekosuchine crocodiles. Methodology for this project consists of two main approaches, morphological studies and limb bone-stress studies. Morphological studies will provide the primary data for analyses of phylogeny and palaeoecology. Limb bone-stress studies, along with examination of limbs and axial skeleton for adaptation to terrestrial locomotion will test for evidence of previously suggested terrestrial habbitus in some Mekosuchine genera.

Molnar, RE, Worthy, T, Willis, PMA 2002, ‘An extinct Pleistocene endemic mekosuchine crocodylian from Fiji’, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 612-628.

Salisbury, SW & Willis, PMA 1996, ‘A new crocodylian from the early Eocene of south-    eastern Queensland and a preliminary investigation of the phylogenetic relationships of crocodilians’, Alcheringa, vol. 20, no. 3-4, pp. 179-226.

Willis, PMA 1995, ‘Phylogenetic systematics of Australian crocodilians’, PHD thesis, University of New South Wales, Sydney.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Sue Hand

Co-Supervisor: Professor Mike Archer



Stein, M., Salisbury, S.W., Hand, S.J., Archer, M. & Godthelp, H., 2012. Humeral morphology of the early Eocene mekosuchine crocodylian Kambara from the Tingamarra Local Fauna southeastern Queensland, Australia. Alcheringa.