|“||Liopleurodon. At nearly 50 tons, it is among the largest and most powerful aquatic carnivores ever to live on the planet.||„|
|— Allen, about Liopleurodon|
Liopleurodon (name meaning "Smooth-Sided Teeth") is a genus of large pliosaur, arguably the largest member of the family, that originated during the Late Jurassic period in what is now Europe. Measuring at maximum 15 meters long and weighing almost 50 tons, its body would have cruised silently through the shallow and deep seas, propelled by its flapping flippers. Its size is a topic of considerable debate; the largest sea monster of the Jurassic.
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 AttributesEditLiopleurodon 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 1–2 tons (2,000–4,000 lbs.). However, there were colossal individuals that grew from a minimum of 33 feet (10 m) and a weight of 6 tons (12,000 lbs.) to an enormous 49 feet (15 m) in length and weighing in at almost 20 tons (40,000 lbs.), making Liopleurodon among the largest and most powerful carnivorous animals ever to live on the planet. The coloration of Liopleurodon was very similar to that of a great white shark's. 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 white scales that would camouflage it from prey below it.
They could have also lived for over 100 years. A massive marine predator with four flippers, they were the biggest carnivorous reptiles ever. They were awe-inspiring sea monsters. They also have a very acute sense of smell. Liopleurodon had the fundamental characteristics of the typical pliosaur; such as a large, heavy skull supported by a short neck. Their short neck helped them be more powerful and that’s when they could tear off chunks of flesh. Its jaws carried a row of protruding, needle-sharp teeth. It also had powerful nostrils which were used to pinpoint the scent of its prey.
They could detect their prey's distress from a distance. Liopleurodon had a directional sense of smell. Two separate chambers in their nose worked in the same way as a pair of ears, pinpointing exactly where a smell was coming from. A sophisticated tracking device stirring 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. 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.
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. 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.
This species of pliosaur lived a more aquatic lifestyle than other plesiosaurs, like Cryptoclidus, due to its large size. Their size alone also made Liopleurodon fiercely territorial about their hunting areas, and even between a male and a female fighting for space, confrontations almost always ended in violence. Adult Liopleurodon were constantly in danger of being beached if they got to close to the islands.
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.
- No Liopleurodon specimen was ever 15 meters in length or 50 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.