Reptiles at sea

The sea reptiles evolved from land reptiles that adapted to life in the water. The legs and feet shortened and widened to become paddles, and the body became streamlined for faster movement through water. These reptiles were carnivores, preying on other sea creatures as well as each other

Reptiles Sea

Modified paddle The plesiosaur Cryptoclidus was 13 ft (4 m) long and had four paddles that were each about 3 ft (1 m) long. it swam by flexing these powerful paddles up and down, "flying" through the water in the way that penguins do today.

Each paddle had five elongated toes.

Flexible jaws

Masosaurus was a giant marine lizard which lived in late Cretaceous shallow coastal waters. The skull and lower jaw bones had flexible joints and curved, piercing teeth. This would enable Masosaurus to give a wide and lethal bite.

Each paddle had five elongated toes.

Powerful, flexible paddles propelled Pliosaurus through the water.

AU plesiosaurs had very long necks and small heads

AU plesiosaurs had very long necks and small heads

Mysterious monster Many people claim to have seen a large creature swimming in Loch Ness in Scotland. This animal, known as the Loch Ness Monster, has been described as a living relative of the plesiosaurs.

• They were carnivores.

Muraenosaurus Air-filled lungs meant that the plesiosaur Muraenosaurus would have found it easier to float than to dive underwater. To combat this, it probably swallowed pebbles to weigh itself down, the way that crocodiles do today.

Tail flipper

\The skin would have been scaly, like ~ the reptiles on land.


One of the fiercest predators of its time, Pliosaurus hunted in the seas of the Jurassic period 150 million years ago. It was about 23 ft (7 m) long and fed on fish and smaller sea reptiles. Like all pliosaurs, Pliosaurus had a short neck, a large head, and a barrel-shaped body. It also had strong jaws and large, sharp teeth with which it could crush and kill prey.

• They were carnivores.

• The turtles are the only sea reptiles still living.

• Ichthyosaurs bore live young; all other reptiles laid eggs.

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