Named By: Samuel Paul Welles - 1943.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Sauropterygia, Plesiosauria, Elasmosauridae?
Species: M. stocki (type).
Size: Estimated around 8 meters long.
Known locations: USA - California - Moreno Formation.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial skeleton, skull unknown.
holotype specimen of Morenosaurus is incomplete,
it is hard to
establish a precise classification of his plesiosaur,
since the skull is unknown. It is probable however that
Morenosaurus is an elasmosaurid (similar to Elasmosaurus)
these were the dominant kinds of plesiosaurs during the late
Cretaceous. Additionally if this is the case then Morenosaurus
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.
- Elasmosaurid plesiosaurs with description of new material from California and Colorado. - Memoirs of the University of California 13:125-254 - S. P. Welles - 1943.