Distribution and ecology

Batrachotomus kupferzellensis is known only from late Ladinian deposits from a few fossil localities in the Hohenlohe region of the State of Baden Würtemberg in southwest Germany.

Map of Germany

Map of Germany, indicating the Kupferzell-Bauersbach locality from where the type material of Batrachotomus kupferzellensis was collected © David Gower

The type locality of Kupferzell-Bauersbach is famous as a site of exceptional fossil preservation, or ‘Lagerstätte’.

The site was discovered by fossil collector J G Wegele when the fossil beds were exposed in 1977 during construction of the autobahn between Nürnberg and Heilbronn. It has yielded a variety of exceptionally well-preserved fossil remains in addition to Batrachotomus kupferzellensis.

These specimens have helped scientists reconstruct a clear picture of the ecosystem in which this reptile lived.

Nutrition

Batrachotomus kupferzellensis was probably the top predator in its ecosystem, preying on perhaps freshwater amphibians and smaller land reptiles. It may have also scavenged carcasses.

The Ladinian fossil deposits of Kupferzell-Bauersbach have also yielded:

  • many fish
  • a diverse range of amphibians
  • several terrestrial reptiles, including ‘mammal-like’ reptiles

There is no direct evidence that Batrachotomus kupferzellensis preyed on any one of these animals, but it has large, serrated and blade-like teeth and probably tackled any prey it could catch.

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