Fun Elasmosaurus Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
Oct 20, 2022 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Oct 01, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
How many fun Elasmosaurus facts do you know? Brush up your knowledge with this article, and make sure to share it with your friends!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.9 Min

If you have read any article about the history of dinosaurs, then you must know about the classification plesiosaurus, the dinosaurs known for their long necks. Incidentally, the Elasmosaurus is the dinosaur with the largest necks in the history of dinosaurs, and are said to have dwelled in the water, and with good reason too!

They weighed so much in neck and size, that it would have been very difficult for them to live on the land for very long, and the water would have provided them with the buoyancy needed to live.

For all their sizes, they do not eat very large animals, preferring to eat only small fish and invertebrates.

They could have probably eaten tons of such animals on any given day, just to keep up their energy and travel underwater. These carnivores probably did not have a jaw big enough to eat bigger animals.

This is not the only dinosaur classification you can know about! There are hundreds of new dinosaurs who had lived in the prehistoric era of the Earth! You can read all about some of them, like the Valdoraptor and Yandusaurus, and take a deep dive into the world of these large creatures!

Elasmosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Elasmosaurus'?

The word Elasmosaurus is pronounced at 'Eh-laz-moh-sawr-us'.

What type of dinosaur was an Elasmosaurus?

The plesiosaur genus Elasmosaurus platyurus thrived in North America.

In which geological period did the Elasmosaurus roam the Earth?

Elasmosaurus platyurus, a marine reptile, is a plesiosaur genus that grew up in Kansas (North America) around 80.5 million years ago, during the Campanian stage (the Late Cretaceous period).

When did the Elasmosaurus become extinct?

Elasmosaurus was a Late Cretaceous dinosaur that existed 80.5 million years ago and died 65 million years ago. Plated lizard is the name given to Elasmosaurus. Elasmosaurus has 72 vertebrae in its neck.

Where did an Elasmosaurus live?

Plesiosaurs reptiles, having long necks, were found all over Europe and the Pacific Ocean, including Australia, Asia, and North America. Some Cretaceous varieties have been found in North America or elsewhere, and they survived until the end of the Cretaceous period.

What was an Elasmosaurus' habitat?

Elasmosaurus was a highly diversified and successful species of marine reptiles that dominated the world's oceans for a long time. As a result, they might be found in various habitats, from relatively close estuaries to the open sea and even freshwater areas.

Who did an Elasmosaurus live with?

According to some evidence, plesiosaurs had complicated social lives, and it's possible that long social relationships existed in this marine reptile.

How long did an Elasmosaurus live?

Elasmosaurus was a sea animal that swam thousands of kilometers and had an exceptionally long neck, could ambush its prey. It lived between 80-65 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period.

How did they reproduce?

While no clear evidence for Elasmosaurus producing eggs on land or birthing to live young is known at this time, most paleontologists assume Elasmosaurus and another closely related plesiosaur would've given birth to live young.

Elasmosaurus Fun Facts

What did an Elasmosaurus look like?

Elasmosaurids was well-adapted to life in the water, and it swam with its flippers. However, it could not have swum in one way while rotating its head and neck in a different direction, either vertically or horizontally.

In addition, their necks were not extremely flexible, and they could not be carried high above sea level, as depicted in earlier paintings. It's unclear what these long necks were for; however, they could have been employed for eating.

Elasmosaurus had a compact, streamlined body, lengthy, paddle-like limbs, a little tail, a comparatively tiny head, and a very long neck, according to related elasmosaurids. However, the only known specimen is fragmented and missing numerous components.

Elasmosaurus and its related Albertonectes had some of the longest necks of any known vertebrates, with the biggest number of neck vertebrae of any recorded vertebrate animals, with a neck length of 23 ft (7 m).

Despite their numerous neck vertebrae, elasmosaurids' lengthy necks were less than half the body length of the longest-necked sauropod dinosaurs.

Samuel Welles, an American paleontologist, estimated the body length to be 34 ft (10.3 m) in 1952. Cope approximated the length of Elasmosaurus in his 1869 report by adding vertebral lengths and estimating missing portions, resulting in an overall length of 43 ft (13.1 m).

Due to cartilage between the vertebral bodies, the living animal would have been slightly bigger, and Cope estimated it to be around 45 ft (13.7 m) long. Other elasmosaurid plesiosaurs, including Thalassomedon and Hydrotherosaurus, were strongly connected to Elasmosaurus.

Its head, by contrast, was comparatively tiny, bulldog-like, and armed with razor-sharp fangs.

Elasmosaurus, like other elasmosaurids, would have possessed a narrow, triangular skull. Due to the fragmented state of the fossils, it is unknown how many teeth Elasmosaurus sported.

The teeth in the front section of the lower jaw have big fangs, while the teeth at the rear appear to be shorter. The dentition of these plesiosaurs was typically heterodont (ambiguous throughout the jaws), with teeth getting smaller as they moved backward.

The upper structures of the shoulder blades were wide, and the shoulder blades' necks were long.

The pectoral girdle had a lengthy bar in the middle, which was assumed to be an advanced characteristic absent in immature plesiosaurs. This reptile would have possessed enormous, paddle-like limbs, including very long digits, like all other elasmosaurids (and plesiosaurs in common).

The genus Elasmosaurus, identified from many rough\u00a0fossils, was the first known member of this group of long-necked plesiosaurs, and the family Elasmosauridae was named after it.

How many bones did an Elasmosaurus have?

Only one Elasmosaurus fossil has been discovered so far. The fossil is also fragmented and missing several sections, with just fragments of the head, fangs, neck vertebrae, and just a few other fossil components remaining. It's hard to know how many bones these cretaceous dinosaurs had because there's no accountability for their entire skeleton.

How did they communicate?

There are no clues about these species' communication abilities due to a lack of research and analysis of their history.

How big was an Elasmosaurus?

The Elasmosaurus size was about 34-46 ft (10.3-14 m). Elasmosaurus spent its entire life in the water, prowling the shore in search of shoals of fish.

How fast could an Elasmosaurus move?

This was a moderate swimming reptile with a small head that ate fish. Elasmosaurus was a strange species with a long, slender neck and tail that dwarfed the body. It swam with four fins, similar to contemporary turtles. It may have been capable of wandering around a little on sandy beaches, possibly to lay its eggs.

How much did an Elasmosaurus weigh?

Elasmosaurus is among the biggest plesiosaurs, with a tiny head and a diet rich in fish, weighing about 4409.3 lb (2,000 kg). In contrast to the polycotylids, which had smaller napes and bigger heads, the elasmosaurids had long necks with comparatively short heads.

What were the male and female names of the species?

The best-known and one of the last long-necked plesiosaurs is Elasmosaurus, sometimes referred to as the ribbon lizard. Male and female sea reptiles whose recovered fossils were fermented do not have a specific name.

What would you call a baby Elasmosaurus?

The young species of this long-necked marine reptile, one of the longest neck plesiosaurs, don't have any specific name.

What did they eat?

Elasmosaurid plesiosaurs ate little bony fish, belemnites (squid-like creatures), ammonites (mollusks), and marine invertebrates, which they snatched with long teeth. In the same manner that seals, crocodiles, and sea lions use today, they ate tiny stones to assist them in digesting their food.

These marine reptiles' flexion ranges would have enabled them to use a variety of hunting techniques, including benthic grazing, which had required swimming down to the ocean bottom and digging for prey on the seafloor with the head and neck.

How aggressive were they?

Elasmosaurid plesiosaurs may have formed social relationships with ‘friends and family,' but they may also have been hostile, with some species primarily attacking conspecifics (as by Saltwater crocodiles).

Did you know...

Elasmosaurus was a type of marine reptile species known as a plesiosaur. Though it co-existed with several dinosaurs, it was not a dinosaur. However, during the Late Cretaceous epoch, Elasmosaurus was among the largest elasmosaurid plesiosaurs.

Fish, as well as other swimming animals, were eaten by Elasmosaurus. They possessed powerful jaws and razor-sharp teeth.

Elasmosaurus swam slowly with its four paddle-like flippers, similar to how contemporary turtles do. No one had seen anything like Elasmosaurus when it was unearthed. As a result, the scientist initially positioned the head on the tail's end rather than the neck!

Albertonectes possessed 76 cervical vertebrae when restored, stretching nearly 23 ft (7 m) long from the rear of the skull towards the base of the neck. The closest competitor for the cervical count was the better famous Elasmosaurus, which had 72 neck vertebrae. Thus, the plesiosaur Elasmosaurus possessed the most vertebrae of any plesiosaur.

The Bone Wars, a decades-long rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope (the person who named Elasmosaurus) with his arch-rival, Yale University's Othniel C. Marsh, shattered American paleontology.

Plesiosaur dinosaurs are a group of long-necked ocean reptiles that lived from the Late Triassic (Late Cretaceous periods) and were discovered as fossils.

What does the Elasmosaurus name mean?

The first individual was discovered at Fort Wallace, Kansas, in 1867 and delivered to Edward Drinker Cope, an American paleontologist who called it E. platyurus in 1868. Elasmosaurus implies thin-plate reptile about the plate bones of the pelvic and sternal areas, and platyurus indicates flat-tailed regarding the compressed tail (really the neck) and vertebral laminae there.

What killed the Elasmosaurus?

Elasmosaurus could only straighten its long neck; anything else would have been impossible. Paleontologists are still puzzled as to why Elasmosaurus died out. All that is documented is that it perished about the same period as the dinosaurs, during the K/T mass extinction. 

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

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

Second image by Evan Howard.

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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

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Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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