The La Guajira Peninsula, Colombia, has a continuous vertebrate fossil record that includes both the late early-early middle Miocene and the Pliocene. Crocodilians from the early to early middle Miocene Jimol and Castilletes formations include gavialoids, recovered from both coastal and shallow marine deposits, and caimanines representing early records of the specialized caimanine taxa Purussaurus and Mourasuchus. Crocodyloid specimens from the Pliocene Ware Formation are assigned to Crocodylus and represent one of the oldest occurrences of the genus in the New World. Records from the La Guajira Peninsula suggest that diverse crocodilian assemblages were already established by the late early Miocene, including several widely distributed lineages that persisted for several million years. Crocodylus is a recent immigrant to South America that occupied habitats left vacant by the extinction of several crocodilian lineages.
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Vol. 36 • No. 3