name = Pliosaurs

image_caption = "Peloneustes philarchus"
fossil_range = Late Triassic - Late Cretaceous
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Sauropsida
superordo = Sauropterygia
ordo = Plesiosauria
subordo = Pliosauroidea
subordo_authority = Welles, 1943
subdivision_ranks = Families and genera
subdivision = see text
The Pliosaurs ("more lizards") were marine reptiles from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. They originally included members of the family Pliosauridae, of the Order Plesiosauria, but several other genera and families are now also included; the number and details of which vary according to the classification used. The name is derived from Greek: "πλειω" from the verb 'to sail' or "πλειων" meaning 'fin' and "σαυρος" meaning 'lizard'. The pliosaurs, along with their relatives, the true plesiosaurs, and other members of Sauropterygia, were not dinosaurs.

The group was characterised by having a short neck and an elongated head, in contrast to the long-necked plesiosaurs. They were carnivorous and their long and powerful jaws carried many sharp, conical teeth. Pliosaurs range from 4 to 15 meters in length. [ [ zoom dinosaurs] ] [ [ Sea reptile is biggest on record] . BBC News, February 27, 2008.] Their prey may have included fish, ichthyosaurs and other plesiosaurs.

Typical genera include "Macroplata", "Kronosaurus", "Liopleurodon", "Pliosaurus" and "Peloneustes". Fossil specimens have been found in England, Mexico, South America, Australia and the Arctic region near Norway.

Many very early (from the Rhaetian (Latest Triassic) and Early Jurassic) primitive pliosaurs were very like plesiosaurs in appearance and indeed used to be included in the family Plesiosauridae.


The taxonomy presented here is mainly based on the plesiosaur cladistic analysis proposed by O'Keefe in 2001 O'Keefe, F. R. 2001. A cladistic analysis and taxonomic revision of the Plesiosauria (Reptilia: Sauropterygia). Acta Zoologica Fennica 213: 1-63. ] and Smith & Dyke in 2008 Smith AS, Dyke GJ. 2008. The skull of the giant predatory pliosaur "Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni": implications for plesiosaur phylogenetics. "Naturwissenschaften" e-published 2008.]

*Suborder: †Pliosauroidea Welles, 1943 sensu O'Keefe, 2001
**†"Attenborosaurus" Bakker, 1993
**? †"Bishanopliosaurus" Dong, 1980
**†"Hauffiosaurus" O’Keefe, 2001
**? †"Megalneusaurus" Knight, 1898
**? †"Pachycostasaurus" Cruickshank, Martill & Noe, 1996
**? †"Sinopliosaurus" G. Young, 1820
**†"Thalassiodracon" Storrs & Taylor, 1996
**Family: †Rhomaleosauridae (Nopsca, 1928) Kuhn, 1961 "sensu" Smith & Dyke, 2008
***"Archaeonectrus" Novozhilov, 1964
***"Eurycleidus" Andrews, 1922
***? "Hexatarostinus"
***"Macroplata" Swinton, 1930
***"Maresaurus" Gasparini, 1997
***"Rhomaleosaurus" Seeley, 1874 Paraphyletic
***? "Yuzhoupliosaurus" Zhang, 1985
**Family: †Leptocleididae White, 1940 "sensu" Smith & Dyke, 2008
***"Leptocleidus" Andrews, 1922 Paraphyletic
***"Umoonasaurus" Kear, Schroeder & Lee, 2006
**Family: †Pliosauridae Seeley, 1874 "sensu" Smith & Dyke, 2008
***"Brachauchenius" Williston, 1903
***"Kronosaurus" Longman, 1924
***"Liopleurodon" Sauvage, 1873
***"Peloneustes" Lydekker, 1889
***? "Plesiopleurodon" Carpenter, 1996
***"Pliosaurus" Owen, 1841
***? "Polyptychodon" Owen, 1841
***"Simolestes" Andrews, 1909


In August 2006, paleontologists of the University of Oslo discovered the first remains of a pliosaur on Norwegian soil. The remains were described as "very well preserved as well as being unique in their completeness" and are the first complete skeleton of a pliosaur ever discovered. Whether it belongs to the genus "Pliosaurus" or "Liopleurodon" awaits publication of the fossil description.

The discovery of an another very large pliosaur was announced in 2002, from Mexico. This pliosaur came to be known as the 'Monster of Aramberri'. The size of this specimen has been estimated to be about 15 meters (49.2 ft) long and it had a convert|10|ft|m|sing=on long skull. Consequently, although widely reported as such, it does not belong to the genus "Liopleurodon".] The remains of this animal consisting of a partial vertebral column, were dated to the Kimmeridgian of the La Caja Formation. [ M.-C. Buchy, E. Frey, W. Stinnesbeck, J.-G. Lopez-Oliva (2003) "First occurrence of a gigantic pliosaurid plesiosaur in the late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) of Mexico", Bull. Soc. geol. Fr., 174(3), pp. 271-278] The fossils were found much earlier in 1985 by a geology student and were at first erroneously attributed to a theropod dinosaur by Hahnel. [Hahnel W. (1988) "Hallazgo de restos de dinosaurio en Aramberri, N.L.,Mexico",Actas Fac. Cienc. Tierra UANL Linares, 3, 245-250.] The remains also originally contained part of a rostrum with teeth (now lost).


ee also

* Plesiosaur
* Plesiosauria

Further reading

* [ The Plesiosaur Directory - pliosaur page]
* [,,3-2390350,00.html Possibly the first full skeleton of a pliosaur was found in October, 2006.]
* [ The monster from the North ]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • pliosaur — noun Any of several plesiosaurs, of the family Pliosauridae, from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods …   Wiktionary

  • pliosaur — n. plesiosaur that has a large head and short neck and immense toothed jaws …   English contemporary dictionary

  • pliosaur — [ plʌɪəsɔ:] noun a plesiosaur with a short neck, large head, and massive toothed jaws. Origin C19: from mod. L. Pliosaurus (genus name), from Gk pleiōn more + sauros lizard (because of its greater similarity to a lizard than the ichthyosaur) …   English new terms dictionary

  • pliosaur — plio·saur …   English syllables

  • pliosaur — /ˈpliəsɔ/ (say pleeuhsaw) noun a member of the Pliosauridae, a family of carnivorous marine reptiles from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, characterised by having a short neck, an elongated head and powerful jaws with long teeth. Compare… …  

  • pliosaur — ˈplīōˌsȯ(ə)r noun ( s) Etymology: New Latin Pliosaurus : a reptile of the genus Pliosaurus or the family Pliosauridae …   Useful english dictionary

  • Liopleurodon — Temporal range: Middle–Late Jurassic, 162–150 Ma …   Wikipedia

  • Polyptychodon — Taxobox name = Polyptychodon fossil range = Early Late Cretaceous image width = 250px regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Sauropsida ordo = Plesiosauria subordo = Pliosauroidea familia = Pliosauridae genus = Polyptychodon genus… …   Wikipedia

  • Plesiosaur — Taxobox name = Plesiosaur fossil range = Early Jurassic Late Cretaceous image caption = Plesiosaurus . regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Sauropsida superordo = †Sauropterygia ordo = †Plesiosauria subordo = †Plesiosauroidea subordo… …   Wikipedia

  • Umoonasaurus — Taxobox name = Umoonasaurus fossil range = Early Cretaceous image width = 250px image caption = Umoonasaurus demoscyllus from the Early Cretaceous of Australia regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Sauropsida ordo = Plesiosauria subordo …   Wikipedia

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