Mekosuchus inexpectatus Balouet & Buffetaut, 1987

New Caledonian terrestrial crocodile



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: >2,000 BC, but possibly >340 AD

Anderson et al. (2010) reported a mandible fragment from a level which overlapped with human occupation of the site, implying a human induced extinction. However, they could not rule out re-deposition in a younger level, and so it remains a tantalizing mystery whether humans caused the extinction of Mekosuchus inexpectatus Balouet & Buffetaut.



Grand Terre, Isle of Pines and New Caledonia (the island), all New Caledonia (the country)


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Balouet, J. C. and Buffetaut, E. (1987). Mekosuchus inexpectatus, n. g., n. sp., crocodilien nouveau de l’Holocene de Nouvelle Calédonie. Comptes Rendu de l’Academie des Sciences, Paris, Serie II 304: 853-856.


Other references:

Anderson, Atholl, Sand, Christophe, Petchey, Fiona and Worthy, Trevor H. (2010). Faunal Extinction and Human Habitation in New Caledonia: Initial Results and Implications of New Research at the Pindai Caves. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 1(1): 89-109.

Holt, T. R., Salisbury, S. W., Worthy, T. H., Snad, C. and Anderson, A. (2007). New material of Mekosuchus inexpectatus (Crocodylia: Mekosuchinae) from the Quaternary of New Caledonia. In: Warren, A., Geological Society of Australia Abstracts No. 85. 11th Conference on Australian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology and Systematics, 2007, Melbourne, Australia, (27-27). April, 2007. [Abstract]

Naish, Darren. (September 20, 2006). The small, recently extinct, island-dwelling crocodilians of the south Pacific. Blog post on Tetrapod Zoology. Available online: [Accessed 11 July 2012]

Ristevski, Jorgo et al. (2023). Migrations, diversifications and extinctions: the evolutionary history of crocodyliforms in Australasia. Alcheringa.


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