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Gavialidae facts for kids

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Temporal range: Upper Permian - Eocene, 257 - 45 Mya
Indian gharial model, Gavialis gangeticus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Gavialidae

Haros aunsti - Reclassified as Edaphosaurus in 2016.

Gavialidae is a family of reptiles within the order Crocodilia. Gavialidae have conventionally consisted of only one surviving species, the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), which is native to India and Nepal. Many extinct species are also known. The false gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii) has usually been thought to be a member of the family Crocodylidae based on several characters including skull morphology, but has sometimes been viewed as a member of this family due to general similarities in morphology and habit. However, numerous molecular studies have consistently shown the two species to be very closely related, supporting the view that they are in the same family.

Gavialids are large semiaquatic reptiles, resembling crocodiles, but with much thinner snouts. The thin snout is used to catch fish, as gavialids lack the jaw strength to capture the large mammalian prey favoured by crocodiles and alligators of similar size.

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