What is Lorrainosaurus?

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What is Lorrainosaurus? Blog Image


The fossils of a 170-million-year-old ancient marine reptile named ‘Lorrainosaurus’ from the Age of Dinosaurs have been recently identified as the oldest-known mega-predatory pliosaur.

Why in News?

  • Scientists first unearthed this sea monster's fossils in 1983. 
  • But in a new study, researchers re-analyzed the remains and found that the predator belonged to a previously unknown genus (group) of species and represented the oldest "megapredatory" pliosaur on record.
  • The fossils were unearthed in the former region of Lorraine (now part of Grand Est) in northeastern France.

About Lorrainosaurus

  • It is the oldest mega-predatory pliosaur.
  • It lived during the ancient Middle Jurassic era in marine environments. 
  • The regions in which it lived 170 million years ago are now located in northern France.
  • This giant reptile probably reached over 6 meters from snout to tail.
  • The animal had jaws over 1.3 m long with large conical teeth and a bulky ‘torpedo-shaped’ body propelled by four flipper-like limbs.
  • They were ecological equivalents of today’s killer whales and would have eaten a range of prey, including squid-like cephalopods, large fish and other marine reptiles.

What are Pliosaurs?

  • Pliosaurs were a type of short-necked plesiosaur: marine reptiles built for speed compared to their long-necked cousins.
  • Also known as pliosauroids, these creatures were not dinosaurs but distant cousins of modern turtles.
  • They had four large flippers, large heads, extremely powerful jaws and enormous teeth, and they hunted fish, cephalopod mollusks, and other marine reptiles.
  • They lived between 220 million years ago (Triassic period) and 70 million years ago (Cretaceous period) and were mostly found in the prehistoric seas that covered modern-day Europe.
  • Famous examples, such as Pliosaurus and Kronosaurus, some of the world’s largest pliosaurs, were absolutely enormous, with body lengths exceeding 10 m.

Q1) What is the Jurassic Period?

The Jurassic period (199.6 million to 145.5 million years ago) was characterized by a warm, wet climate that gave rise to lush vegetation and abundant life. Many new dinosaurs emerged—in great numbers. Among them were stegosaurs, brachiosaurs, allosaurs, and many others.

Source: Sea Monster Surprise: Ancient Pliosaur Remains Challenge What We Knew