World’s Largest Crocodile Named after Icelander Skip to content

World’s Largest Crocodile Named after Icelander

By Iceland Review

Scientists recently confirmed that fossils that were excavated in Kenya in the 1960s and 70s were of a previously unknown prehistoric crocodile, the largest of its kind to have existed on earth.


Life restoration of Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni. Source: Wikipedia.

The species was named Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni earlier this year in honor of John Thorbjarnarson, an American conservationist of Icelandic decent who worked to protect endangered crocodilians.

John was born in the United States in 1957 to Icelandic surgeon Björn Þorbjarnarson and his wife Margaret. He was among the world’s foremost experts on crocodiles and played a big part in the protection of predators. He died of malaria in India two years ago, Fréttablaðið reports.

“Internationally, he had become some kind of a giant in the research and protection of crocodiles,” said John’s relative, Icelandic author and environmentalist Andri Snær Magnason. “He was a very modest man who had to work with tribes against corrupted governments.”

Andri Snær stated John saved many species from extinction. “He had just finished a book on the Chinese crocodile. There were only 100 left in the Yangtze river when measures were taken to save them.”

Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni is believed to have lived two to four million years ago and have measured up to nine meters in length. It is thought to have ambushed people and swallowed them whole when they went to fetch water from the Mid-African plains.

“John is a good example of people who follow their childhood dreams. One could say that his dream came true when the world’s largest crocodile was named after him,” Andri Snær concluded.


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