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Liopleurodon

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Liopleurodon ferox

Liopleurodon infobox

WWDPilot Liopleurodon

Liopleurodon-dino-large

Vital statistics
Attributes Sharp, protruding teeth; large flippers; short tail, strong sense of smell, 25 metres in length
Diet Ophthalmosaurus; Leedsichthys; Eustreptospondylus; other animals
Fossil finds Europe
Possibly central North America
Temporal fossil range Jurassic period
160 to 155 million years ago
Other names
Production information
Notable individuals
TV appearances Walking with Dinosaurs, Cruel Sea
Sea Monsters, To Hell... and Back?
... at 150 tonnes, it is the largest and most powerful carnivore ever to live on the planet.

Walking with Dinosaurs, Cruel Sea

Liopleurodon was a species of large pliosaur from the late Jurassic period. It lived in the deep seas near the European coastlines, in vast territories.

With a maximum length of 25 metres, this creature was the largest carnivore to ever exist. Its incomprehensible size and strength made it indestructible to any attack.

Creature attributes

Physical appearance and biology

Liopleurodon was a very large pliosaur. It had the fundamental characteristics of the typical pliosaur, such as a large, heavy skull supported by a short neck. 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.

Each of Liopleurodon's four flippers was three metres in length. By alternately flapping its flippers, it managed to propel its huge bulk effortlessly through the Jurassic waters.

The colouration of a 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.

Behaviour and traits

Classification and ancestory

In Walking with Dinosaurs

Liopleurodon appears in the series' intro at the 0:11 mark until 0:13.

Cruel Sea

A Liopleurodon snatches a Eustreptospondylus out from the water just before the title card of the episode is shown.

Another who was male later tears a female Ophthalmosaurus in half after she had just given birth. The male later encounters a female who he engages in a territorial dispute. The bull wins the fight by biting the female's left hind flipper and as she leaves her bleeding wound attracts Hybodus sharks that most likely kill her. The male Liopleurodon was one of the victims of the storm that occurred at the end of the episode. His cause of death was being beached onto land and being consumed during his last moments of life by multiple Eustreptospondylus who were scavenging the carcasses of those who died in the storm.

In Sea Monsters

Liopleurodon is one of the creatures listed on Nigel Marven's Time map.

To Hell... and Back?

Liopleurodon is the main hazard of the Jurassic seas and makes them the second deadliest sea of all time.

A Liopleurodon is attracted to the carcass of a Leedsichthys that Nigel witnessed die at the hands of a Metriorhynchus and a Hybodus earlier. He catches this large marine reptile on his radar and commands his shipmate Peter to bring out the Pole camera so he watch a video feed of the creature. Nigel gets a glimpse of the Liopleurodon, but it becomes frightened by the underwater camera. Amazed by what he saw, Nigel Marven decides he would live to go underwater with the reptiles.

Before he does this, him and his crew decide to test a suit capable of releasing a chemical that would detour Liopleurodon by using a mannequin filled with squid wearing the specialized suit on two young individuals. They first used shark repellant, but this fails to detour the hungry Liopleurodon. The crew then used the chemical Putrescine, which emits a foul smell, for their next experiment. The second experiment successfully drew away the pliosaurs with the closest to an aggressive action from them being a nudge. This greenlit Nigel Marven's dive with them.

During the night Nigel took a swim in the Jurassic seas, he witnessed a pair of two Liopleurodon feasting on the Leedsichthys carcass. Nigel Marven decided to get closer to frenzy, but one of the pliosaurs swam too close to Nigel causing him to release the Putrescine he had and to depart from the dangerous waters where he then proceeded to time travel to the Late Cretaceous.

Other appearances

Liopleurodon was one of the few creatures featured in the Walking with Dinosaurs pilot. Like in its appearance in Cruel Sea, the animal ended up beached on the shore.

Behind the scenes

No Liopleurodon specimen or any pliosaur ever was 25 meters in length nor did they weigh 150 tons. Estimates of real Liopleurodon say it was 6-7 meters in length with an estimated weight of less than 10 tons[1][2] and the largest pliosaur, Pliosaurus funkei, is estimated to have been only 10-12 meters long.[3][4] According to the ABC website and the now removed BBC website, what inspired the production team to make Liopleurodon over 20 meters was based off a skull fragment from the Natural History museum[5], but this estimate has been considered dubious at best.[6]

In The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life, it is mentioned that Liopleurodon might have lived in Central America. The specimen they are referring to is "The Monster of Aramberri", a large pliosaur discovered in Mexico that some considered was a Liopleurodon ferox individual[7] though it is now thought to belong to another genus or its own.[8][9][10]

The design of Liopleurodon from Walking with Dinosaurs and Sea Monsters is very iconic with various toys and restorations of it and its relatives being based on the Walking with... series' Liopleurodon.

List of appearances

Notes and references

  1. About.com - Liopleurodon
  2. The Plesiosaur Site - Liopleurodon
  3. Wired - Paleontologists Reveal the Identity of "Predator X"
  4. Prehistoric Wildlife - Pliosaurus
  5. Walking with Dinosaurs - The Evidence
  6. Dinosaur Mailing List
  7. BBC News - Giant sea fossil unearthed
  8. Plesiosauria - Mine's Bigger Than Yours! The Monster of Aramberri, Predator X, and other monster pliosaurs in the media
  9. Dinosaur Mailing List
  10. The Plesiosaur Site - The 'Monster of Aramberri'

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