Cryptoclidus (crip-TOE-clide-us), which belonged to a genus of marine reptiles, called plesiosaurs (plee-zee-oh-SAWRS), that swam the shallow oceans of Europe, during the Middle Jurassic Period of England.

How big was Cryptoclidus?

Cryptoclidus weighed around 8 tons and measured 27 feet (8 metres) in length. Its head was rather flattened, with eyes facing upward and their skull was broad and light. The internal nares were set forward, and the nostrils were relatively small. Its neck alone measured 6.6 feet (2 metres) in length but does not seem to have been very flexible. It had a small head and a bulky body.

Cryptoclidus jaws were lined with 100 interlocking long sharp teeth, which are believed to have been used to sift through mud on the floor to find creatures such as fish and squid that might be hiding there.

On land, Cryptoclidus appeared clumsy and cumbersome, yet once in the water, they became graceful creatures that used all 4 of their huge flippers to glide through the water.

Cryptoclidus also used all 4 flippers to paddle speedily through the water, hunting for shoals of fish, crustaceans, and squid-like (no shell) cephalpods. Cryptoclidus may have laid its eggs in the sand, but this is doubtful.

Known fossil evidence for this reptile is relatively poorly preserved, found mostly in England, Northern France, Russia, and South America.


Slate Weasel, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Abyssal leviathin at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Last Updated on 15/07/2022 by