Fun Woolungasaurus Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 30, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 22, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Woolungasaurus skeleton specimen highlights the presence of the longest neck in this type species.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

Woolungasaurus (Woolungasaurus glendowerensis) was a marine reptile that existed about 110 million years ago during the lower Cretaceous period. The fossils of this species were first excavated from Queensland, Australia. These creatures belonged to the Plesiosauria and Elasmosauridae clades, and therefore, possessed a long neck, which helped them to catch fish. They were about 31 ft (9.4 m) in length, but their weight is not yet estimated by the paleontologists. Their fossils comprised a handful of partial remains along with the skull.

The plesiosaurs had about 40 narrow teeth with which they pierced through the soft-bodied fish. However, they were unable to chew their prey into pieces and hence, swallowed them up entirely. These animals were not dinosaurs, but a type of marine reptile. Their tail was short, compared to their bulky body and long neck. According to the paleontologist, Per Ove Persson, W. glendowerensis shared a close association with the Hydralmosaurus, which also belonged to the Elasmosauridae clade and was excavated from North America. Keep on reading to unearth more gripping facts on the Woolungasaurus.

If you liked reading this article, why not check out the Thalassomedon and the Brachauchenius, here on Kidadl? 

Woolungasaurus Interesting Facts

Was the Woolungasaurus a dinosaur?

The Woolungasaurus of Australia was not exactly a dinosaur, but a type of marine reptile. They thrived in the deep oceans and seas and preyed on fish.

How do you pronounce 'Woolungasaurus'?

Woolungasaurus is pronounced as 'Woo-lun-gah-sore-us'.

What type of marine reptile was a Woolungasaurus?

It is a plesiosaur, more specifically an Elasmosaur. This group of animals was known to have the longest necks.

In which geological period did the Woolungasaurus live?

These huge aquatic reptiles swam in the oceans during the lower cretaceous period. Several other marine animals also existed during this period, for example, Notochelone costata, the fossil turtle as well as the Ichthyosaurs.

When did the Woolungasaurus become extinct?

They became extinct about 65.5 million years ago. Natural disasters like a volcanic eruption, toxicity of marine habitats along with savage predators led to their extinction. The massive Kronosaurus, that lived during this period, was considered to be their predator.

Where did a Woolungasaurus live?

The specimen of Woolungasaurus was found in Queensland, Australia in the Wallumbilla Formation.

What was a Woolungasaurus' habitat?

They inhabited seas and oceans and preyed on a wide variety of fish. They preferred cold and dark habitats.

Who did a Woolungasaurus live with?

We do not know about their social nature. However, just like other plesiosaurs, they may have lived solitarily and in pairs during their breeding season.

How long did a Woolungasaurus live?

The exact lifespan of these Albian reptiles is not known, due to insufficient data available.

How did they reproduce?

These plesiosaurs may have given birth to live babies in the water. Their young ones came out of their mother's womb with the rear-end at first. This ensured that the babies were acclimatized to the cold and dark marine environment. Although there is not much data available on their reproduction habit, we do know that they were closely related to the marine plesiosaur, Polycotylus, which also showed a similar reproduction pattern.

Woolungasaurus Fun Facts

What did a Woolungasaurus look like?

According to the publication, Memoirs of Queensland Museum, by Sven Sachs, the skeleton of W. glendowerensis comprised 46 vertebrae and several bones of the ribs, shoulder girdle, and forearm. A small part of their limb bone was also present. Seven caudal vertebrae display their relatively small tail, which was circular posteriorly. Their skull was small and highlights the presence of sharp teeth. Their teeth were narrow and pointed out the fact that they were unable to chew their prey and therefore, swallowed them entirely. The Woolungasaurus skeletal specimens mark the Elasmosaur with the longest neck known so far. The femurs in these specimens were robust and more slender than the humerus.

Woolungasaurus facts are all about a fascinating marine reptile of Queensland.
*We've been unable to source an image of Woolungasaurus and have used a sketch of a herbivorous dinosaur instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Woolungasaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

How many bones did a Woolungasaurus have?

The total number of bones is not known due to the partial remains of the specimens. Only some parts of the skull, ribs, and vertebrae have been excavated from Australia, which suggests that they belong to the class Reptilia and Plesiosauria clade.

How did they communicate?

These plesiosaurs of class Reptilia communicated by certain sensory organs present in their body. They were also capable to detect signals from above the water surface.

How big was a Woolungasaurus?

Woolungasaurus size was about 31 ft (9.4 m), and they were slightly smaller than the Styxosaurus reptiles.

How fast could a Woolungasaurus move?

There is no data available on the exact speed at which this giant group of Albian reptiles of the Elasmosauridae family, swam across the oceans. Considering their streamlined body along with long and slim necks, we can assume that they swam pretty fast in the seas and oceans.

How much did a Woolungasaurus weigh?

The exact weight of this group of marine creatures is not known due to their partial skeleton. However, most plesiosaurs that existed in the early Cretaceous period, weighed about 1999.5 lb (907 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names assigned to the male and female members of the species. They are collectively known as Woolungasaurus.

What would you call a baby Woolungasaurus?

A baby Woolungasaurus can be called an infant or a newborn because these species gave birth to live young ones.

What did they eat?

The Woolungasaurus is believed to be a piscivore which indicates that its primary diet included fish and other aquatic animals.

How aggressive were they?

The plesiosaurs were known to be aggressive predators, who possessed menacing skills to capture their prey. They were also known to graze solitarily on the ocean floor in order to ambush their prey at once. Their large body size and long neck further intimidated other marine animals.

Did you know...

The holotype of this specimen contained 12 vertebrae that were excavated from the Maree Formation of Neales River in Australia. Their skull was retrieved from the Yamborra Creek of Queensland.

It is believed that the plesiosaurs were incapable of raising their head out of the water. However, it is also assumed that these creatures may have come up to the surface in order to breathe. This is due to the fact that their body did not possess gills, unlike other marine animals. But their exact breathing mechanism has not yet been confirmed by the paleontologists.

How did the Woolungasaurus get its name?

Woolungasaurs means Woolunga lizard and has been named by the paleontologist Persson in the year 1960. The genus name, Woolungasaurs glendowerensis, was also named by him after the Glendower station of Queensland, Australia, the place from which their fossils have been excavated.

What fossils of the Woolungasaurus have been found?

The partial remains of these species of the Elasmosauridae family comprised 46 vertebrae, and several bones of the ribs, shoulder girdle, and forearm. A small part of their limb bone was also present. These fossils confirmed that they were not dinosaurs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Palaeosaurus fun facts, or Tupuxuara facts for kids.

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

*We've been unable to source an image of Woolungasaurus and have used an image of a Edmontonia dinosaur instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Woolungasaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

Woolungasaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Fish

what Type of Animal were they?

Piscivore

Average Litter Size?

N/A

What Did They Look Like?

N/A

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

Skin Type

Scaley and slimy

How Long Were They?

31 ft (9.4 m)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Reptiles

Genus

Woolungasaurus

Family

Plesiosauria and Elasmosauridae

Scientific Name

Woolungasaurus glendowerensis

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Oceans and seas

Where Did They Live?

Queensland and Australia
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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