A large pliosaur that lived during the Lower Cretaceous Period


Pliosaurs were a type of short-necked plesiosaur: marine reptiles built for speed compared to their long-necked cousins. One study estimated that certain Pliosaurs could swim at a little under 10 km/h. They were predators that hunted fish, cephalopod molluscs and other marine reptiles. Pliosaur skeletons have even been found with dinosaur remains in their stomachs, suggesting perhaps that they were not averse to scavenging carcasses that floated out to sea. Eventually the mosasaurs took over the Pliosaur niche in the prehistoric seas.

Scientific name: Pliosauroidea

Rank: Suborder

Common names:

more lizard-like

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The following habitats are found across the Pliosaurs distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Shallow seas Shallow seas
Shallow seas cover the continental shelves. These sunlit, or neritic, waters are where the oceans are most productive, where biomass is highest and where all the major sea fisheries of the world take their catches.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

What killed them

Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction
The Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction - also known as the K/T extinction - is famed for the death of the dinosaurs. However, many other organisms perished at the end of the Cretaceous including the ammonites, many flowering plants and the last of the pterosaurs.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Reptiles
  5. Sauropterygia
  6. Plesiosauria
  7. Pliosaurs

BBC News about Pliosaurs