|“||Four flippers, short, compact neck, nearly as big as Leedsichthys. I'm sure this is Liopleurodon. At well over 30 tons, it is among the largest and most powerful carnivores ever to live on the planet.||„|
|— Allen, about Liopleurodon|
Liopleurodon (name meaning "Smooth-Sided Teeth") is a genus of large pliosaur that originated during the Late Jurassic period in what is now Europe. Arguably the largest member of the family, measuring at maximum 15 meters long and weighing over 30 tons, its body would have cruised silently through the shallow and deep seas, propelled by its flapping flippers.
In the episode "Cruel Jurassic Seas", a pair of Liopleurodon was brought back to the park from Late Jurassic Europe 149 million years ago. They reside in the marine exhibit of the enclosure.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Liopleurodon ruled the seas of the Late Jurassic Period from 160–145 million years ago. While Allosaurus ruled the Jurassic on land, Liopleurodon was the apex predator of the oceans. Liopleurodon was first discovered by Henri Émile Sauvage in 1873.
Physical AttributesEditA massive marine predatory animal with four flippers and capable of living for over 100 years, Liopleurodon was a very large pliosaur, in fact, it was the largest of its family. On average, they measured 16–23 feet (4.9–7.1 m) long and weighed 2–4 tons (4,000–8,000 lbs.). However, there were colossal individuals that reach lengths of a minimum of 33 feet (10 m) and a weight of 16 tons (12,000 lbs.) to a maximum of an enormous 49 feet (15 m) in length and weighing in at almost 32 tons (70,000 lbs.), making Liopleurodon among the largest and most powerful carnivorous animals that had ever existed. The coloration of Liopleurodon was very similar to that of a great white shark. It had black scales on the top half of its body, probably to camouflage it from prey above it. Meanwhile, on the other half of its body, there were grey to white scales that would camouflage it from prey below it.
Liopleurodon possessed the fundamental characteristics of the typical pliosaur; such as a large, heavy, bottle-nose shaped skull supported by a short neck and four large flipper limbs. Their short neck helped them be more powerful and that's when they could tear off chunks of flesh. Its large jaws carried a row of protruding, needle-sharp teeth. Liopleurodon were bullet-resistant animals, but due to the warmer conditions of their home in the Jurassic, if a Liopleurodon were to stay in colder waters for too long, it would presumably die from the cold conditions.
Capable of detecting the distress of their prey from a distance, Liopleurodon also had powerful nostrils, a directional and very acute sense of smell, which were used to pinpoint the scent of its prey. Two separate chambers in their nose worked in the same way as a pair of ears, pinpointing exactly where the smell was coming from. A sophisticated tracking device stirring among the largest carnivorous jaws ever known. Each of Liopleurodons four slippers measured over 10 feet (3 m) long. By alternately flapping its flippers up and down, it gave them enough power to guide and propel their huge bulk effortlessly through the Jurassic waters.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Liopleurodon was a solitary creature, only getting together during mating season. However, some Liopleurodon lived in pods of three or so, generally not attacking one another, while others seemed to either stray off or hunt alone. However, their size alone also made Liopleurodon fiercely territorial about their hunting areas, and even between a male and female fighting for space, confrontations almost always ended in violence. They were known to have most likely given live birth to their offspring. Much like young sharks, juvenile Liopleurodon lived in shallow waters until they were old enough to fend for themselves.
When they were at the surface, they could take one giant gulp of air and then descend to the depths to hide. Underwater, they could hold their breath for over an hour. This species of pliosaur lived a more aquatic lifestyle than other plesiosaurs, like Cryptoclidus, due to its large size. Adult Liopleurodon were constantly in danger of being beached if they got to close to the islands.
Being one of the largest carnivores to have existed, Liopleurodon was the apex predator of every area it lived in. They had a variety of prey consisting of sharks, marine crocodiles, ichthyosaurs, other pliosaurs, and the largest fish that ever lived, Leedsichthys. Liopleurodon were carnivorous creatures which would devour both small and large animals in their underwater environment. When confronting large objects in the waters, Liopleurodon would react aggressively by ramming and biting, whether it was an inanimate object or a living animal. Liopleurodon were seen to rub their bodies along smaller objects to try and get a reaction to see if the object was living food that could be taken and devoured. Not even terrestrial prey, such as Eustreptospondylus, was safe from the large marine reptile. It would also occasionally scavenge carcasses. Because of its reputation, other predators would flee upon seeing Liopleurodon and would only attack individuals when they were wounded.
- No Liopleurodon specimen was ever 15 meters in length or 23 tons. Estimates of real Liopleurodon say it was 6-12 meters in length with an estimated weight of fewer than 2 tons and the largest pliosaur, Pliosaurus funkei, is estimated to have been only 10-15 meters long.
- Liopleurodon was one of the largest marine creature brought back to the aquarium.