Morenosaurus

Name: Morenosaurus ‭(‬Moreno lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Moe-ree-noe-sore-us.
Named By: Samuel Paul Welles‭ ‬-‭ ‬1943.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Sauropterygia,‭ ‬Plesiosauria,‭ ‬Elasmosauridae‭?
Species: M.‭ ‬stocki‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Piscivore/Carnivore.
Size: Estimated around‭ ‬8‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: USA‭ ‬-‭ ‬California‭ ‬-‭ ‬Moreno Formation.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial skeleton,‭ ‬skull unknown.

       Because the holotype specimen of Morenosaurus is incomplete,‭ ‬it is hard to establish a precise classification of his plesiosaur,‭ ‬especially since the‭ ‬skull is unknown.‭ ‬It is probable however that Morenosaurus is an elasmosaurid‭ (‬similar to Elasmosaurus‭) ‬since these were the dominant kinds of plesiosaurs during the late Cretaceous.‭ ‬Additionally if this is the case then Morenosaurus was probably a piscivore,‭ ‬hunting Cretaceous era fish,‭ ‬though this cannot be established as a certainty without further remains.
       Morenosaurus was named after the Moreno Formation from where the holotype fossils of this genus were found.‭ ‬Other plesiosaurs from this formation include Aphrosaurus,‭ ‬Fresnosaurus and Hydrotherosaursus,‭ ‬and not only have all four of these plesiosaurs come from the Moreno Formation,‭ ‬but they were all described by Samuel Paul Welles and all in‭ ‬1943.‭ ‬Further discoveries from the Moreno Formation include the mosasaurs Plotosaurus and Plesiotylosaurus,‭ ‬numerous turtles and even the remains of a hadrosaurid dinosaur thought to be of the genus Saurolophus.
       Morenosaurus should not be confused with Muraenosaurus,‭ ‬another‭ ‬genus of plesiosaur that lived during the Jurassic.

Further reading
- Elasmosaurid plesiosaurs with description of new material from California and Colorado. - Memoirs of the University of California 13:125-254 - S. P. Welles - 1943.



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