Westphaliasaurus

Name: Westphaliasaurus ‭(‬Westphalian lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: West-fa-lee-ah-sore-us.
Named By: Schwermann‭ & ‬Sander‭ ‬-‭ ‬2011.‭
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Sauropterygia,‭ ‬Plesiosauria,‭ ‬Plesiosauridae.
Species: W.‭ ‬simonsensii‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Probably‭ ‬a‭ ‬piscivore.
Size: Estimated at‭ ‬4.5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Germany,‭ ‬Westfalen.
Time period: Pliensbachian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Almost complete and still articulated skeleton,‭ ‬although the skull and upper cervical‭ (‬neck‭) ‬vertebrae are missing.

       Because the skull of Westphaliasaurus is so far unknown it is impossible to say for certain what the diet of Westphaliasaurus was.‭ ‬However most of the early Jurassic plesiosaurs were dedicated hunters of fish and possibly also squid,‭ ‬prey animals that would become a staple part of the diets of plesiosaurs throughout the Mesozoic.‭ ‬Unless future discoveries prove otherwise,‭ ‬it‭’‬s reasonable to assume that Westphaliasaurus also had a similar diet.
       The species name W.‭ ‬simonsensii is in honour of Sönke Simonsen,‭ ‬the palaeontologist who discovered the remains.

Further reading
- Osteologie und Phylogenie von Westphaliasaurus simonsensii: Ein neuer Plesiosauride (Sauropterygia) aus dem Unteren Jura (Pliensbachium) von Sommersell (Kreis Höxter), Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland. - Geologie und Paläontologie in Westfalen 79:1-60. - L. Schwermann & P. M. Sander - 2011.


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