Liopleurodon


Genus

Liopleurodon

Author

Sauvage, 1873

Classification

Sauropterygia
Eosauropterygia
Eusauropterygia
Pistosauria
Plesiosauria
Pliosauroidea
Pliosauridae

Age

Callovian, Middle Jurassic

Location

Peterborough, England. Also known from Bedfordshire (UK), Cambridgeshire (UK), France (near Boulogne) and possibly Chile.

Type species

Liopleurodon ferox

Other species

Liopleurodon pachydeirus

Referred material

sp.

Liopleurodon is a pliosaur that hardly needs introduction since appearing as the villain in the BBC’s ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ TV series. This led to popular misconceptions about the size of Liopleurodon, which is known to have reached adult sizes in the region of seven metres long, nowhere near the gargantuan 25m estimate proposed by the series and later perpetuated elsewhere.

Liopleurodon differs from Pliosaurus in the following characters: relatively short mandibular symphysis with 5-7 teeth adjacent to it), each lower jaw ramus contains 25-28 teeth, the teeth have fewer longitudinal ridges on outer (labial) surface relative to the inner (lingual) surface, and relatively longer epipodial bones in the limbs. According to the classification of Tarlo (1960), the teeth of Callovian species of Liopleorodon (L. ferox) are circular in cross section, whereas they are trihedral (triangular in cross section) in later Kimmeridgian species (L. rossicus, L. macromerus). A similar trend occurs in the closely related genus Pliosaurus. However, revision of Jurassic pliosaurid taxonomy is underway and the relationships of Jurassic pliosaurus are still poorly understood. The species macromerus, previosuly included by some authors in Pliosaurus and by others in Liopleurodon, may turn out to be a distict genus.

Also, Liopleurodon was in no way magical, Charlie.

Liopleurodon ferox

Species

L. ferox

Author

Sauvage, 1873

Classification

Sauropterygia
Eosauropterygia
Eusauropterygia
Pistosauroidea
Pistosauria
Plesiosauria
Pliosauroidea
Pliosauridae
Liopleurodon

Age

Callovian, Middle Jurassic

Formation

Oxford Clay Formation

Type location

Peterborough, England. Also known from Bedfordshire (UK), Cambridgeshire (UK), France (near Boulogne) and possibly Chile.

Type specimen

the holotype is only a single tooth

Referred material

Known from several partial skeletons and skulls

Liopleurodon pachydeirus

Species

L. pachydeirus

Author

(Seeley, 1869)

Classification

Sauropterygia
Eosauropterygia
Eusauropterygia
Pistosauroidea
Pistosauria
Plesiosauria
Pliosauroidea
Pliosauridae
Liopleurodon

Age

Callovian, Middle Jurassic

Formation

Oxford Clay Formation

Type location

Great Gransden, UK

Type specimen

Associated cervical vertebrae

Referred material

-

According to Tarlo (1960), L. pachydeirus differs from L. ferox in the morphology of its teeth and cervical vertebrae. L. pachydeirus has enamel ridges closely packed on inner surface and 6-7 evenly spaced ridges on outer surface, cervical vertebrae with faint ventral keel (Tarlo, 1960).