Liopleurodon was an aquatic reptile predator with four paddle-like fins and an enormous pair of jaws. Liopleurodon was an average sized plesiosaur. A great beast dubbed 'Predator X' has recently been discovered. This mysterious creature may have been three times the size of Liopleurodon. This finding highlights that pliosaurs were definitely the kings of the oceans during much of the reign of the dinosaurs.
This aquatic reptile was found in a strip of ancient rock running through Oxford, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire in England known as the Callovian Clay. Its fossils have also been found in France and Russia. The Callovian Clay has been preserved for the last 160 million years and contains remnants of numerous other creatures, such as marine crocodiles and ichthyosaurs.
Liopleurodon's teeth could reach a whopping 10cm (4in) in length – that's the length of a Swiss Army knife and about as sharp too.
Liopleurodon, much like a great white shark, probably would have used its very powerful sense of smell to locate prey, like an undersea bloodhound.
The very first Liopleurodon fossil ever to be discovered was found by Henri Émile Sauvage in 1873. He uncovered a tooth, near Boulogne-sur-Mer in France, and named the creature Liopleurodon ferox. It would become the most famous of all Liopleurodon species.
Height: 3m (9.84ft)
Length: 7m (22.96ft)
Weight: 2.5 tonnes (2.8 short tons)
Top speed: 10kph (6.21mph)
Vision: Liopleurodon probably would have had good binocular vision, making them adept underwater hunters.
Skin: While it isn't known directly from fossils, based on the skin of living animals that have similar ecology like whales and dolphins, Liopleurodon probably had fairly smooth skin for streamlining through the water.
Headlines: Liopleurodon had a skull 1.26m (4.1ft) long – about the height of an adult human – and most of that would have been its jaws.
Prey: Liopleurodon would have been a solitary hunter, preying on giant fish, ichthyosaurs and even other plesiosaurs.
Bite: Liopleurodon's teeth could reach a whopping 10cm (3.9in) in length.