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Africa seams to be the most biodiverse continent, with megafauna being abundant and smaller animals even more so.
Africa has a large diversity of crocodiles, and not all of them are restricted to the rivers.
Afrosebecosuchia (African Sebecosuchians)Edit
This group includes a variety of extinct groups, and the modern fluvisuchids and pantherachampsids.
While both non-avian dinosaurs and large mammal predators are found here, the real kings of the savanna are the Panzercrocs, giant sebecosuchian crocodiles.
These crocs dominate all apex predatory niches in north Africa, Asia south of the Himalayas, and even parts of Europe, south of the Alps. The group as a whole, are all massive animals, averaging 5 metres long, and weighing up to two tons. Compared to traditional crocodiles, the most distinctive features of the group is their build, they are all entirely terrestrial, and have long legs held underneath their body, a digitigrade stance, and even an endothermic metabolism.
The group are also characterised by an elongated tooth on their upper jaw, making them almost look like the long gone Permian gorgonopsids. Like gorgonopsids, they are big game hunters, and are almost in an arms race with their prey to develop bigger front teeth. The largest species, the Panzercroc itself, is though to grow to lengths of almost 8 metres long, truly a monster.
- Panzercroc, Pantherachampsus varius
Fluvisuchidae (River Demons)Edit
This monotypic family contains the River Demon, a strange semiaquatic, almost spinosaur-like animal. Like 'normal' Neosuchian crocodiles, the River Demon has a flattened tail and webbed feet, but like all sebecosuchians, the legs are long and positioned beneath the body. The river demon is particularly common in the lakes of the East African Rift.
- River Demon, Fluvisuchus inexpectatus
Mammals are common in Africa, particularly as small species. Compared to Eurasia, however, which has a sizeable population of large mammals, Africa's mammals are small, and most are Euarchontoglires, particularly primates.
Primates are common animals in central Africa, and some species have spread north onto the savannas. Most of these also turned to a more carnivorous diet.
This large family contains most of the common primates, ranging from the open plains-dwelling Baboolemar to the tree dwelling semi-carnivorous Rongo.
Dinosaurs compose much of the megafauna of the continent. Monstrous ceratopsians and hadrosaurs roam about the continent, and fierce theropods rule the south.
Unlike other continents, Africa's macropredatory theropods are not coelurosaurs, but ceratosaurs. At the end of the Cretaceous, abelisaurids were fast becoming apex predators of gondwana, but an african faunal turnover in the Oligocene spelled doom for these specialised carnivores. Taking their place are a diversity of terrestrial crocodylomorphs, but the then small noasaurids diversified to fill many of the mesopredatory niches.
Ceratosaurians are rare nowadays, but still maintain a presence in Africa and Madagascar.
The last surviving ceratosaurians, the Deplumosaurs, are the apex predators of the southern third of the continent, and exist as cheetah analogues in the north. The large species of the south are all more than 5 metres long, and the biggest species, known as the Turokane, is up to 9 metres long. This predator is found largely in South Africa, but ranges up the East African Rift, as far north as the Red Sea. Deplumosaurs evolved in the Oligocene from the Noasaurids, after their larger relatives, the Abelisaurids, went extinct from competition with the ancestral Panzercrocs. Surprisingly, though they are some of the most specialised dinosaurs alive today, they have a strong resemblance to basal theropods like Coelophysis and Liliensternus.
- Turokane, Deplumosaurus megalania
Ceratopsians spread out over Eurasia in the Early Cenozoic, and a family of giant high browsing ceratopsians reached Africa in the Miocene, and outcompeted the African Sauropods. These titanic creatures have thrived since.
The huge Elephaceratopsians, African relatives of the Eurasian Magnacornibids, plod across the plains of the Serengeti, and wallow in the mud. The Elephaceratopsids are less common than other dinosaurs, but are easily the largest animals in their environment, with males of the sub-saharan species growing to almost 13 tons in weight. There are several common names, though the most often used one is 'longhorn'.
- Serengeti Longhorn, Elephaceratops serengetiensis
Like ceratopsians, hadrosaurs were presant in Eurasia, and spread into Africa in the Miocene. Today they occupy most megafauna niches, and are the most common animals on the continent.
The more gracile Afrosaurs, hadrosaur descendants, exist as giraffe analogues and small cursorial animals. Afrosaurs are an African radiation of hadrosaurs, originating in Asia Minor in the Miocene, and spreading to Africa soon after. With few competitors they quickly became the most common herbivores, and occur in most habitats on the continent. They range in size from the tiny forest dwelling Pixisaurs of the central African jungles, to the towering Giraffotheres of the sub-saharan plains.