The oldest large-bodied pliosaur from the Jurassic of France
Lorrainosaurus from the Bajocian (Middle Jurassic) of France is the earliest large-bodied pliosaurid and the oldest known representative of a dynasty of marine reptile mega-predators that ruled the Mesozoic oceans for around 80 million years. Its identification demonstrates that these creatures emerged shortly after a landmark restructuring of marine ecosystems close to the Early-to-Middle Jurassic boundary, some 175 to 171 million years ago. This event profoundly affected many vertebrate groups and brought pliosaurids to dominance over ‘fish-like’ ichthyosaurs, ancient marine crocodile relatives, and other large-bodied predatory plesiosaurs.
Reconstruction: Juschua Knüppe