Enormous Crocodile Find Could Fit Biblical Leviathan
by Patrick Young, Ph.D. 

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On October 26, 2001, Sereno et al, published research on the excavation of an extinct giant crocodile1. Named Sarcosuchus Imperator (flesh crocodile emperor), the team reported on a discovery of fossilized remains of skulls and partial skeletons from the El Rhaz formation in Niger and the size of this reptile appears to dwarf any crocodile species known to exist today2. (See picture on website in reference 2).

Previous to this discovery, Sarcosuchus Imperator was only recognized from a partial skull and some isolated skeletal fragments 3,4. The new discovery allowed the research team to estimate the dimensions of this creature to be very nearly 40 feet long and weighing approximately 18 – 20,000 lbs5. In contrast, modern crocodiles only achieve an average length of about 15 to 21 feet and a weight of a little over a ton.

Much of the hype for this discovery centers on a concept that crocodiles this large have not existed for eons. Although Sereno et al, determined this crocodile lived in the Cretaceous period and has been extinct over 100 million (radiometric) years, there is historical evidence of enormous crocodiles extant within recent memory. The Encyclopedia Britannica has reported adult salt-water crocodiles may reach a maximum expanse of 30 feet6. The Greek historian Herodotus (484 – 430 BC) reported hearing of a crocodile reaching a length of over 40 feet7. This enormous span was also confirmed by Phylarchus in Fragmenta Historicum Graecorum8. Although the report by Herodotus dates back some 2500 years, it is miniscule compared to the 100 million years proposed by Sereno as the final sighting for a creature of this size.

Certain scholars have translated the leviathan spoken of in the book of Job as a crocodile. The Hebrew translation for leviathan is rendered "a large wreathed animal" or capable of coiling. The book of Job describes leviathan as large, aquatic, powerful, terrible teeth, and scales so near that air cannot penetrate. Job 41:33 states, "upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear". Crocodiles certainly have demonstrated fearlessness but interpreting leviathan as this reptile was somewhat dubious, considering the superlatives used in Job. However, a 40-foot long, 18,000-pound crocodile the size of a commercial bus, unquestionably adds credibility to the opinion.



Sereno, P.C., Larsson, H.C.E., Sidor, C.A., Gado, B., "The Giant Crocodyliform Sarcosuchus from the Cretaceous in Africa", Science, 294(5546), 2001, pp. 1516-1519.


3. Broin, F., Taquet, P., C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris 262, 2326, 1966.
4. Taquet, P., Cah. Paleontol. 1, 1, 1975).
5. Ref. 1
6. The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998, Volume 26, p. 768.
7. How, W.W., Wells, J., "A Commentary on Herodotus", Volume I, Oxford University Press, New York, 1912, p. 201.
8. "Fragmenta Historicum Graecorium", Muller, C. ed., 1885, p. 340.

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