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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

19 Fin-tastic Facts About The Zarafasaura For Kids

Explore more about this animal by reading these Zarafasaura facts.

Zarafasaura is also known as Zarafasaura oceanis. It has been noted that fossils of plesiosaur remains were found on almost every continent on Earth with some key discoveries in Europe, Australia, and North America. The type species Zarafasaura oceanis's fossils were found in the Oulad Abdoun Basin of Morocco, Africa, and are presently mounted at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center display. It is known to have existed in the Late Cretaceous period, that is, it lived around 72-66 million years ago.

This plesiosaur was described to belong to the group of marine reptiles, and thus, it is believed that it lived in marine habitats. Like other plesiosaurs and reptiles, it also reproduced sexually, where the male used to deposit sperm inside the female body and females used to lay eggs.

Not much has described regarding the physical description of this animal as the plesiosaur remains and fossil of the skeleton that was discovered consisted of a crushed skull that was dorsoventrally incomplete and a complete mandible. After the skull was reconstructed based on its remains, it was noted that it had a number of long teeth that used to interlock together when their jaw closed. These interlocked Zarafasaura teeth served as a trap. These plesiosaurs were known to have a piscivore diet, that is, they used to feed on fish but it is believed that the Zarafasaura's teeth are not suitable for tearing food, and thus, the food was directly swallowed.

The genus name is from Arabic and it means 'giraffe', this Arabic name is believed to have been given by the local population, and 'saurus' is derived from Greek which means 'lizard' and the specific name means 'daughter of the sea' in Latin. This plesiosaur was named by Peggy Vincent, Baadi Bouya, Said Meslouh, Mbarek Amaghzaz, Xabier Pereda Suberbiola, and Nathalie Bardet in 2011. It is believed that it differs from other elasmosaurids as it had a distinct palate and squamosal.

It is very interesting to learn about this Late Cretaceous animal and if you are interested, read about Kaiwhekea and Plesiopleurodon, too.

Zarafasaura Interesting Facts

Was the Zarafasaura a dinosaur?

This animal, Zarafasaura, was not a dinosaur, it was classified as a genus of elasmosaurid.

How do you pronounce 'Zarafasaura'?

It is pronounced as 'Zaa-rah-fa-sore-ra'.

What type of marine reptile was a Zarafasaura?

It is classified under elasmosaurid.

In which geological period did the Zarafasaura live?

It is known to have lived in the Late Cretaceous period.

When did the Zarafasaura become Extinct?

The time period of extinction of this species from the Cretaceous time period is not known.

Where did a Zarafasaura live?

It is believed that this Elasmosauridae used to inhabit regions of present-day Africa.

What was a Zarafasaura's habitat?

Not many details are known about the habitat of this reptile from the Cretaceous period, but it is believed that it used to live in marine habitats.

Who did a Zarafasaura live with?

Not much information is available about this elasmosaurid plesiosaur being solitary or living in groups.

How long did a Zarafasaura live?

It is known to have lived around 72-66 million years ago.

How did they reproduce?

 Not much is known about the reproduction of this reptile, but it is thought that it used to reproduce just like all the other reptiles, that is, it reproduced sexually.

Zarafasaura Fun Facts

What did a Zarafasaura look like?3

The teeth and jaw of these animals were some of their identification features.
We've been unable to source an image of Zarafasaura and have used an image of Aristonectes instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Zarafasaura, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected]

Not much has been described on the appearance of this elasmosaurid plesiosaur as the fossil remains of the skeleton discovered only consisted of a crushed skull, which was dorsoventrally incomplete, and a complete mandible. After the skull reconstruction, it was noted that it had a number of long teeth that used to interlock together when the jaw is closed. The palate and squamosal were also known to be different as compared to the latest Cretaceous plesiosaurs. To give a clear picture of this reptile is difficult as most of the part of the skull is based on reconstruction.

How many bones did a Zarafasaura have?

The exact number of bones that the Zarafasaura had is not known.

How did they communicate?

Not much information is available about the communication of this elasmosaurid plesiosaur from the Cretaceous time range.

How big was a Zarafasaura?

The Zarafasaura's size is not known as it is difficult to estimate the size based on the fossil discovered.

How fast could a Zarafasaura move?

The moving speed of this elasmosaurid plesiosaur is not known.

How much did a Zarafasaura weigh?

The weight of this plesiosaur cannot be evaluated based on the fossil remains that were found.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There were no sex-specific names for this species.

What would you call a baby Zarafasaura?

It is unknown what was the baby of this species from the Late Cretaceous period was called.

What did they eat?

The diet of this plesiosaur from the Late Cretaceous was considered to be piscivorous as they were known to be aquatic dinosaurs.

How aggressive were they?

The nature and behavior of the Zarafasaura from the Late Cretaceous are not known.

Did you know...

This is known to be a type collected from the Oulad Abdoun Basin of Morocco, Africa.

The holotype skeleton of this species is labeled as OCP-DEK/GE 315 and was found in the Sidi Daoui area of Morocco. It was found in the Upper CII level of the Upper Cretaceous and is presently mounted on the Wyoming Dinosaur Center display.

The type species is known as Zarafasaura oceanis.

The genus or the generic name has originated from Arabic and means 'giraffe', and it is believed that this name was described by the local population, and 'saurus' is a Greek word which means 'lizard'.

The specific name of this species, 'oceanis', is derived from Latin which means 'daughter of the sea'.

It is also believed that Zarafasaura was the elasmosaurid plesiosaur that is one of the last surviving elasmosaurids and was active around the North Africa region as in the past. There have been not many plesiosaurs found. It has also been noted that the Zarafasaura has a different palate and squamosal than the other known elasmosaurids of the late Cretaceous plesiosaurs.

The interlocking teeth of this elasmosauridae species worked as a trap for prey, like fish and squid, but it has also been studied that the teeth of this animal were not suitable for tearing the prey into small pieces, and thus, it would have directly swallowed the food otherwise it would cut it into pieces while chewing.

It is articulated to be a part of an intriguing group of marine reptiles that are Extinct and used to exist in the seas of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, that is, 235-66 million years ago.

The reconstruction of the skull of this reptile has been reviewed multiple times over the years.

Who discovered Zarafasaura?

It is unknown who discovered Zarafasaura, but it was named by Peggy Vincent, Baadi Bouya, Said Meslouh, Mbarek Amaghzaz, Xabier Pereda Suberbiola, and Nathalie Bardet in 2011.

Did Zarafasaura breathe air?

Not much is known about the Zarafasaur, an Extinct reptile from the Cretaceous time period. However, plesiosaurs, in general, were known to live in shallow waters or seas, but it has been recorded that they did breathe air.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Cryptoclidus fun facts, or Peloneustes facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable swimming dinosaur coloring pages.

Main/Hero Image- Dmitry Bogdanov

Second Image- incidencematrix

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