Cimoliasaurus
(Sometimes spelled as Cimoliosaurus‭)

Name: Cimoliasaurus.
Phonetic: Sim-o-le-ah-sore-us.
Named By: Joseph Jiedy‭ ‬-‭ ‬1851.
Synonyms: Cimoliasaurus brevior,‭ ‬Cimoliasaurus maccoyi,‭ ‬Discosaurus,‭ ‬Oligosimus,‭ ‬Piptomerus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Sauropterygia,‭ ‬Pleisoauria.
Species: C.‭ ‬magnus,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬valdensis,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬snowii.
Diet: Probably piscivorous.
Size: Uncertain sue to the assemblage of remains and partial incomplete preservation of many specimens.
Known locations: Europe,‭ ‬North America and Australasia.‭ *‬Possibly not an accurate representation of the genus.
Time period: Cretaceous‭ (‬sometimes credited as mid Jurassic to end of the Cretaceous‭)‬.‭ ‭*‬Possibly not an accurate representation of the genus.
Fossil representation: Multiple partial and incomplete remains.‭ ‬Possibly not all indicative of the genus.

       The term most often attributed to Cimoliasaurus is‭ ‘‬wastebasket taxon‭’ ‬due to the practice of some palaeontologists‭ ‬assigning otherwise unidentifiable plesiosaur bones to the genus.‭ ‬This is why geographical distribution for the genus covers Europe,‭ ‬North America,‭ ‬and Australia and New Zealand,‭ ‬while the temporal range in the past has run from the mid Jurassic to the very end of the Cretaceous period‭ (‬though sometimes the range‭ ‬is cited as Early Cretaceous to‭ ‬the end of the Maastrichtian‭)‬.
       Because of this the validity of Cimoliasaurus as a genus remains dubious,‭ ‬but more may come from the remains attributed to Cimoliasaurus such as the discovery of new plesiosaur genera.‭ ‬This has happened already with the creation of the species Cimoliasaurus laramiensis by Knight in‭ ‬1900,‭ ‬which was renamed as a species of Tricleidus‭ (‬T.‭ ‬laramiensis‭) ‬by Mehl in‭ ‬1912‭ ‬before eventually being raised as a new genus called Tatenectes by O'Keefe and Wahl in‭ ‬2003.
       With more in depth study it is probable that one day Cimoliasaurus may one day be cleaned up enough to get an accurate description of a specific genus.‭ ‬Such cases of‭ ‬a‭ ‬wastebasket taxon being cleaned up is nothing new,‭ ‬with one of the best known examples being that for the dinosaur Megalosaurus.



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