Fun Pliosaurus Facts For Kids

Sharon Judith
Oct 20, 2022 By Sharon Judith
Originally Published on Oct 20, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Pliosaurus facts tell you everything you need to know about these marine reptiles.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.0 Min

The Pliosaurus was a new species of marine reptile that swam in seas about 190 million years ago, during the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous period. Fossil remains of this large species were first discovered and named by Richard Owens in 1842.

Its name means 'Pliocene lizard' in Greek. Pliosaurs are known today by eight different, independent species named Pliosaurus brachyspondylus, Pliosaurus carpenteri, Pliosaurus funkei (also known as predator X or P. funkei), Pliosaurus kevani, Pliosaurus macromerus (P. macromerus), Pliosaurus brachydeirus (P. brachydeirus), Pliosaurus westburyensis, and Pliosaurus rossicus.

It has given its name to a whole family of marine reptiles!

The fossils of each of these species have been discovered in many countries. Species P. kevani, P. westburyensis, P. macromerus, P. brachydeirus, and P. carpenteri have been discovered in England.

Pilosaurus funkei, popularly known in the media as 'Predator X', is known from two fossil specimens located in Norway. P. rossicus, an outside type species of the Pliosaurs group, was discovered in Russia.

Pliosaurs were closely related to Plesiosaurs in appearance however Plesiosaurs were long-necked.

This huge Pliosaur could be identified by its massive body, large head with powerful jaws, short neck, and a long snout containing conical sharp teeth. To date, the largest pliosaur fossils to have been discovered are from Svalbard, Norway and the Pliosaur was none other than the 'Predator X' specimen, possibly passing as giant predators of the sea.

This 'Predator X' was discovered by a well-known Norwegian paleontologist named Dr. Jorn Hurum from the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo.

Paleontologists, through years of studying, have concluded the Pliosaurus bite force was huge due to its relatively short neck but big long snout.

The Norwegian Journal Of Geology has described some dolphin-like reptiles, two Ichthyosaurs, a pliosaurus with a long neck, pliosaurus teeth, and some invertebrates. They had a piscivorous diet and fed on a variety of fish, their long mouth and sharp teeth making it easy to bite into their prey.

Some scientists have also declared that these marine reptile species from the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous period could have possibly been more intelligent and smarter than sharks!

If you'd like to discover more interesting facts on similar animals, check out our Heterodontosaurus interesting facts for kids or Ludodactylus amazing facts that you're sure to enjoy!

Pliosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Pliosaurus'?

The Pliosaurus name is pronounced as 'Ply-oh-sore-us'! These marine reptiles were gigantic sea predators that were a little longer in length than the modern-day crocodile. The largest of these species was called 'Predator X' or scientifically, Pliosaurus funkei. They were closely related to plesiosaurs.

What type of dinosaur was a Pliosaurus?

The dinosaur, Pliosaurus, came from the same group as Plesiosaurs and were in the Reptilia class. Sharing similar appearances, Plesiosaurs differed from Pliosaurs as they were long-necked.

In which geological period did the Pliosaurus roam the Earth?

Plesiosaurus species, whose name means 'Pliocene lizard', roamed the Earth during the Late Jurassic period as well as in the Early Cretaceous about 190 years ago. These marine reptiles might have had a wide range as their fossils have been recovered from sites in different countries like Australia, Norway, England, Russia, and some other parts of Europe as well.

When did the Pliosaurus become extinct?

Pliosaurs became extinct roughly about 145 million years ago. It was a plesiosaur and was not a dinosaur but it co-existed with other dinosaur species. After studying Pliosaur fossils for a long time, paleontologists have stated that these marine creatures might have been the top sea predators of their time!

Where did a Pliosaurus live?

The Pliosaurus lived in the ocean, seas, and near shorelines.

What was a Pliosaurus' habitat?

The Pliosaurus habitat was along shorelines, oceans, and seas. They were mostly found to inhabit large water bodies and possibly shared their habitats with sharks, whales, and jellyfish! They fed on a variety of fish and other small prey.

Who did a Pliosaurus live with?

There are no straight Pliosaurus fossil remains as proof to indicate whether Pliosaurs hunted or lived in groups. Some paleontologists speculate that these species that lived about 190 million years ago might have lived in groups since their behavior would have matched those of modern-day marine reptiles like alligators, crocodiles, and lizards.

How long did a Pliosaurus live?

The Pliosaurus lived for about 70-80 years, like all other creatures of their time. They existed alongside dinosaurs but weren't animals that came under the category of a dinosaur.

How did they reproduce?

Whether Pliosaurs laid eggs or not was a topic of great debate among scientists and paleontologists. However, most of them came out saying that these sea predators gave birth to live young and were doting and nurturing parents.

According to scientific evidence and research, this huge pliosaur gave birth to large babies again.

The shells of their eggs were hard and these sea reptiles would have probably moved onto land to lay the eggs. A scientist and dinosaur expert named Robert O' Keefe studied the fossils and said that the young ones might have lived in pods and became independent at a young age.

Pliosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Pliosaurus look like?

This genus of dinosaurs, which belong to the same group as plesiosaurs, roamed the Earth during the Late Jurassic period and maybe existed even during the Early Cretaceous period. Various skeletal fossils of the Pliosaurus specimen have been located in different countries around the world.

Resembling the plesiosaur species, they had a huge body that was great in length and size.

This sea animal was estimated to be about 480 in (1219.2 cm) in length and their weight was around 60,000 lb (27215.5 kg)! They a had a big head with a short neck, a long snout, and heavy jaws with sharp pointed teeth.

This gave them a massive yet powerful bite, tearing into small prey easily.

This giant sea animal from the Late Jurassic period is considered to be a new species or genus by many experts and researchers. The largest of these pliosaurs was discovered in Svalbard, Norway, and is called 'Predator X' (a popular term used in media) or Pliosaurus funkei (P. funkei).

The Pliosaurus funkei (P. funkei) or 'Predator X' was considered to be a new species and their name was given by Bjorn and May-Liss Funke, who located these specimens.

(The Pliosaurus funkei (P. funkei) or 'Predator X' was considered to be a new species and their name was given by Bjorn and May-Liss Funke, who located these specimens.)

How many bones did a Pliosaurus have?

It is currently not known how many bones the Pliosaurus skeleton consisted of but these giant animals would have had over a 100 bones for sure! From the Pliosaurus fossil tooth, researchers have stated that they could have had really sharp teeth.

How did they communicate?

Since they were sea animals, these extinct animals would have communicated using a technique called echolocation. This method of communication is still employed by modern-day marine animals where they detect the location of underwater objects and other sea creatures as well. They would have also used this method to locate prey like small fish, amphibians, and crustaceans.

How big was a Pliosaurus?

The Pliosaurus size was massive! They were estimated to be around 590.5 in (1499.8 cm) in height and about 480 in (1219.2 cm) in lengthwise.

Their long snout was three times longer than the present-day common dolphin and their total body length could have been the same as a sperm whale! When comparing the Megalodon vs Pliosaurus, the Megalodon had a longer body but was a poor hunter.

How fast could a Pliosaurus move?

The speed of this animal, which lived about 190 million years ago in the Late Jurassic, is not known in great detail but they were believed to have moved in the water relatively at a speed of 9 mph (14.4 kph) or roughly, 8.7 mph (14 kph)!

How much did a Pliosaurus weigh?

The Pliosaurus weight was estimated to be about 60,000 lb (27215.5 kg), the same as a humpback whale! The Svalbard Pliosaur or 'Predator X' was the largest species that came from the Pliosaurus family.

What were the male and female names of the species?

This animal species had no specific male or female names. They were simply called by their common name which is Pliosaurus.

What would you call a baby Pliosaurus?

It is currently not known what a baby Pliosaurus is called. Nonetheless, having a strong similarity to modern-day reptiles, their babies would have been called hatchlings.

What did they eat?

This sea animal had a piscivorous diet. They fed on small fish, colossal squid, amphibians, mollusks, and reptiles. Some studies claim that this animal might have been a 'bottom-feeder'.

How aggressive were they?

They would have been aggressive animals since various researches have declared these animals as the top predators of their respective environments. They would have also expressed aggressive behavior when threatened or preyed on.

Did you know...

The bite of the Pliosaurus is believed to have been four times more powerful than T-rex! Recently, the fossil remains of a Pliosaurus in China has also been identified in the Sichuan Basin.

Moreover, there have been differences established between the Pliosaurus and other similar species. For instance, when comparing the Pliosaurus vs Megalodon, the Megalodon had a longer body length and wider mass but the Pliosaurus was a better hunter irrespective of being smaller in size.

When comparing the Pliosaurus vs Mosasaur, the Mosasaur was quicker.

With respect to the Kronosaurus vs Pliosaurus, the Kronosaurus was a pliosaur that was the smallest and most vulnerable of its kind.

What type of water did the Pliosaurus live in?

They lived in an aquatic environment, particularly having a strong preference for ocean waters and lakeshores.

What were the climate and geography when the Pliosaurus lived?

Scientists claim that temporal waters were where they favored making their homes in but others have also come forward saying that they were found in cold, Arctic waters. The Norwegian Journal Of Geology has described some dolphin-like reptiles, two Ichthyosaurs, and some invertebrates.

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 Caviramus facts, or Homalocephale facts for kids.

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

Second image by Ghedoghedo.

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Written by Sharon Judith

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

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Sharon JudithBachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

A humanities and Science student, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology from Mount Carmel College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Science from Bournemouth University. She is passionate about research, content writing, and development, and has a keen interest in international finance and economics. With her strong analytical skills and inquisitive mind, she is always striving to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these subjects.

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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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