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The plesiosaurus,P. dolichodeirus, is an extinct [1] marine animal that grew to about 15 feet long. They had a small head, long neck, two pairs of paddle type flippers and a tail. Plesiosauruses are thought to have been very fast in the water catching their prey with sharp curved teeth. They had two nostrils located closer to their eyes than to the tip of their snout.[2] It is speculated that they could not breathe underwater but needed to go to the surface periodically to breathe.[3] There is some disagreement as to whether their necks with approximately 40 vertebrae [4] were very flexible.
There has been a long running debate whether a plesiosaurus could crawl up onto land to lay eggs; their paddles are thought to be far too weak to move their large heavy bodies out the water. Recently, a plesiosaur,Polycotylus latippinus,fossil discovered on a ranch in Kansas was found to have a juvenile plesiosaur fossil inside suggesting live birth in water.[5]
Plesiosaurus fossils have been found on every continent with the earliest complete skeleton found in England around 1823.
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Plesiosaurus Tooth
1740 Fd. phosphate mines, Khouribgha, Morroco
1.8" long
Plesiosaurus Vertebra
1371 Fd. Lyme Regis, West Dorset, UK
5.4"x 5"x 2"
Plesiosaurus Skeleton Isolated
© Lefteris Papaulakis |

[1] Presumed extinct
[2] Plesiosaurus, Wikipedia, viewed May 21, 2015,
[3] Plesiosaurus Dinosaur, viewed May 21, 2015,
[4] Ibid., Plesiosaurus, Wikipedia
[5] Carpenter, Jennifer, Fossilí suggests plesiosaurs did not lay eggs, Science and Environment, BBC News, August 12, 2011,