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.
term most often attributed to Cimoliasaurus is
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.