The number of precaudal vertebrae in all extant crocodylians is remarkably conservative, with nine cervicals, 15 dorsals and two sacrals, a pattern present also in their closest extinct relatives. The consistent vertebral count indicates a tight control of axial patterning by Hox genes during development. Here we report on a deviation from this pattern based on an associated skeleton of the giant caimanine Purussaurus, a member of crown Crocodylia, and several other specimens from the Neogene of the northern neotropics. P. mirandai is the first crown-crocodylian to have three sacrals, two true sacral vertebrae and one non-pathological and functional dorsosacral, to articulate with the ilium (pelvis). The giant body size of this caiman relates to locomotory and postural changes. The iliosacral configuration, a more vertically oriented pectoral girdle, and low torsion of the femoral head relative to the condyles are hypothesized specializations for more upright limb orientation or weight support.