Liopleurodon (LIE-oh-PLOOR-oh-don) meaning (Smooth-sided tooth) was a genus of Pliosaurs, a family of large, carnivorous marine reptiles which lived during the mid to late Jurassic period around 160 million to 155 million years ago.
How big was Liopleurodon?
Liopleurodon was a 150 ton, 25 metre long sea reptile. It was the largest, most powerful carnivore ever to exist on the earth. Its immense size suggests that it was over 100 years old. Liopleurodon had a directional sense of smell which came from two chambers in its nose, which were like ears pinpointing where a smell was coming from.
It had the largest jaws ever known on an animal. Liopleurodon had 4 huge flippers which each measured 3 metres long and powered it effortlessly through the water.
Despite needing to breath air, Liopleurodon spent its entire life at sea and was unable to leave the water. It would surface to take a large gulp of air and then would lay low in wait of prey. Liopleurodon was a master of ambush and a shark-eater among others.
They were fiercely territorial and confrontations with trespassers, including other Liopleurodons, always ended in conflict and violence.
Liopleurodons Birth & Babies
Female Liopleurodons gave birth to live young and most possibly would visit shallow waters to breed.
What Did Liopleurodons Eat?
Liopleurodon was an omnivore which means it ate both plants and meat. But its main food was sea prey in other sea reptiles. It is primarily known as a carnivorous reptile but when food was scarce it would eat sea plants.
No Known Predators
Liopleurodon had no known predators, only natural occurrences such as severe tropical storms could beach this huge, powerful creature. Tropical storms were common during the Jurassic period and many sea reptiles would be victims of such storms.
Many sea reptiles became disorientated during the storms and would be washed up and stranded on the beach, unable to get back to the sea. The dinosaurs that lived on the land would then see them as a banquet.
Even the mighty Liopleurodon could end up this way. It would lay stranded upon the sand, unable to move and be slowly suffocated by its huge body. Its massive, powerful jaws could still make a meal out of the largest land reptiles, but most dinosaurs could bide their time until the huge king of the seas eventually died.
Huge sea reptiles continued to dominate the oceans and it would be another 90 million years before they disappeared along with all the land dinosaurs when the comet hit earth and wiped out this race of huge creatures.
FURTHER READING & STUDY
- Roger B. J. Benson et al (2013) A giant pliosaurid skull from the Late Jurassic of England
- Scientific America: Plesiosaur Peril – the lifestyles and behaviours of ancient marine reptiles.
- Science facts: Liopleurodon facts
Last Updated on 17/07/2021 by admin