Plesiosaurs (meaning "near lizard") were flippered marine reptiles from the Mesozoic Era - they were not dinosaurs. Plesiosaurs are divided into two groups: the Plesiosauroids with long, snake-like necks, tiny heads, and wide bodies, and the Pliosauroids, which had large heads with very strong jaws and short necks. The first plesiosaur skeletons were found in England by Mary Anning, in the early 1800s, and were amongst the first fossil vertebrates to be described by science. Many have been found, some of them virtually complete, and new discoveries are made frequently. Plesiosaurs had a broad body and a short tail. They retained their ancestral two pairs of limbs, which evolved into large flippers. Plesiosaurs evolved from earlier, similar forms such as pistosaurs or very early, longer-necked pliosaurs. There are a number of families of plesiosaurs, which retain the same general appearance and are distinguished by various specific details. Some of the more common forms in Plesiosaurs include Cryptocleidus, Elasmosaurus, Thalassomedon, Kronosaurus & Liopleurodon.
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