5 of the Most Interesting Prehistoric Marine Reptiles

Prehistoric reptiles roamed each nook of the Earth thousands and thousands of years in the past — together with the depths of the ocean to streams and rivers. Whereas generally known as aquatic or marine dinosaurs — or reptiles — many of those creatures additionally spent a big period of time out of the water. 

Some prehistoric marine reptiles got here to the floor to breathe or returned to land to put their eggs. Listed here are 5 of essentially the most attention-grabbing aquatic reptiles that lived among the many dinosaurs.            

1. Spinosaurus

(Credit score:Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock)

Bigger than the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Spinosaurus was the biggest recognized carnivorous dinosaur. Reaching over 20 ft tall and as much as 65 ft lengthy, these huge creatures might weigh in at 26,000 to 44,000 kilos. Though they lived primarily in water, they weren’t ocean dwellers. As an alternative, they lived in rivers and lakes in Northern Africa — in what’s now modern-day Morocco and Egypt. 

Regardless of having a paddle-like tail and spending time in water, newer analysis means that they might not have been proficient swimmers and couldn’t submerge themselves. Spinosaurus had lengthy (as much as seven ft) spines extending from their vertebrae, referred to as a sail. Paleontologists hypothesize this sail was used to draw mates and deter enemies.

Learn Extra: Might Spinosaurus Actually Take On T. rex? And Different Information

2. Mosasaurus

(Credit score:Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock)

These huge, 30,000-pound, ocean-dwelling reptiles lived in varied climates, with fossils present in Africa, Asia, Europe, Antarctica and the Americas. With 40-50 huge, sharp enamel and a double-hinged jaw, Mosasaurus might open its mouth huge sufficient to swallow its prey entire.

They had been an apex predator rising as much as 48-56 ft lengthy and weighing about 15 tons. With virtually no different predators, they usually fought one another — with the winner feeding on the loser. Their modern-day family members embody the monitor lizard and Komodo dragon. 

Learn Extra: Did This Large Sea Lizard Rule the Oceans 66 Million Years In the past?

3. Kronosaurus

(Credit score:Konstantin G/Shutterstock)

Paleontologists have discovered fossils from the ocean-dwelling Kronosauras in solely Australia and Colombia. Nonetheless, the truth that their bones had been discovered on two continents up to now aside suggests they lived worldwide. The dearth of fossil proof additional factors to Kronosauras dwelling in deep waters fairly than shallow. 

Feeding on marine reptiles, sharks, fish, massive squid and turtles, they weighed in at as much as 28,000 kilos and measured as much as 34 ft lengthy. The world’s solely mounted Kronosaurus skeleton is on the Harvard Museum of Pure Historical past. There’s an attention-grabbing story in regards to the show (associated to its reconstruction), and it isn’t with out some controversy.

Learn Extra: Why Have been Prehistoric Marine Reptiles So Large?

4. Plesiosaurus

(Credit score: Warpaint/Shutterstock)

With disproportionately lengthy necks, the Plesiosaurus didn’t appear to be a streamlined specimen. However analysis suggests in any other case. Utilizing laptop modeling, scientists studied the drag of Plesiosaurus as in comparison with different marine reptiles and modern-day dolphins and whales. They did this by modeling how water would have flowed round their our bodies to find out the resistance they might have skilled whereas swimming. 

Surprisingly, Plesiosaurs had a powerful drag per unit quantity, main researchers to imagine they might have been adept swimmers. Utilizing their 4 fins and a head that might swing back and forth, they probably moved via the water, feeding on colleges of fish. 

Learn Extra: How Do Scientists Reconstruct What Dinosaurs Regarded Like?

5. Shonisaurus

(Credit score:Michael Rosskothen/Shutterstock)

Paleontologists first found this fossil in Nevada in 1920 and aptly named it Shonisauras, which means “lizard from the Shoshone Mountains.” Though excavations didn’t start till 1954, finally, paleontologists and researchers unearthed 37 of those fossils. Shonisauras was considerably much like what we consider as a modern-day dolphin. 

Shonosauras was the biggest of the ichthyosaur genera and had an extended snout and narrower flippers than the opposite Ichthyosaurs. Rising to roughly 50 ft lengthy, they might usually keep immersed in deep oceanic water, though they got here nearer to shore at night time when feeding. 

The adults didn’t have enamel, dropping them as juveniles. The dearth of enamel meant that they ate up cephalad, reminiscent of squid. With 4 equal-sized limbs, they had been expert at swimming at totally different depths, permitting them a feeding benefit.

Learn Extra: Do We Nonetheless Have Any Species At present That Are Descendants of Dinosaurs?