Competition to achieve paternity has contributed to the development of a multitude of elaborate male reproductive strategies. In one of the most well-studied examples, the spermatozoa of all mammalian species must undergo a series of physiological changes, termed capacitation, in the female reproductive tract prior to realising their potential to fertilise an ovum. However, the evolutionary origin and adaptive advantage afforded by capacitation remains obscure. Here, we report the use of comparative and quantitative proteomics to explore the biological significance of capacitation in an ancient reptilian species, the Australian saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Our data reveal that exposure of crocodile spermatozoa to capacitation stimuli elicits a cascade of physiological responses that are analogous to those implicated in the functional activation of their mammalian counterparts. Indeed, among a total of 1,119 proteins identified in this study, we detected 126 that were differentially phosphorylated (± ≥1.2 fold-change) in capacitated versus non-capacitated crocodile spermatozoa. Notably, this subset of phosphorylated proteins shared substantial evolutionary overlap with those documented in mammalian spermatozoa, and included key elements of signal transduction, metabolic and cellular remodelling pathways. Unlike mammalian sperm, however, we noted a distinct bias for differential phosphorylation of serine (as opposed to tyrosine) residues, with this amino acid featuring as the target for ~80% of all changes detected in capacitated spermatozoa. Overall, these results indicate that the phenomenon of sperm capacitation is unlikely to be restricted to mammals and provide a framework for understanding the molecular changes in sperm physiology necessary for fertilisation.