Desmatosuchus was one of the largest aetosaurs, being 5 metres (16 ft) long and about 1.50 m (5 ft) high. It possessed an armored body and pig-like head. It had a shovel-like snout and weak teeth that suggest it lived by uprooting soft plants.
Like many of its relatives, it had heavy armoured plates along its back, tail, and parts of the underside. However, unlike most other aetosaurs, Desmatosuchus also had two rows of spikes along the sides of its back. The largest spikes, above the shoulders, were 45 centimetres (18 in) long. These probably gave it extra protection against predators.
Classification and speciesEdit
A revision of Desmatosuchus by Parker (2008) found the lectotype of Episcoposaurus haplocerus to be referable to Desmatosuchus but indeterminate at the species level. Therefore, E. haplocerus was considered to be a nomen dubium and D. spurensis was reinstated as the type species of the genus. Two species were accepted as valid: D. spurensis and D. smalli. Desmatosuchus chamaensis is recognized as a distinct genus, but there is some dispute about whether the name Heliocanthus or Rioarribasuchus applies.
The following cladogram simplified after an analysis presented by Julia B. Desojo, Martin D. Ezcurra and Edio E. Kischlat (2012). Template:Clade