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Futabasaurus (Wikimedia Commons)


Futabasaurus (Greek for "Futaba lizard"); pronounced FOO-tah-bah-SORE-us


Oceans of eastern Asia

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (75-65 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 20 feet long and 2-3 tons



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Slender body; narrow flippers; long neck


About Futabasaurus:

The first plesiosaur ever to be discovered in Japan, Futabasaurus was a typical member of the breed, albeit on the larger side (full-grown specimens weighed about 3 tons) and with an exceptionally long neck similar to that of Elasmosaurus. Intriguingly, fossil specimens of the late Cretaceous Futabasaurus bear evidence of predation by prehistoric sharks, a possible contributing factor to the global extinction of plesiosaurs and plesiosaurs 65 million years ago. (By the way, the plesiosaur Futabasaurus shouldn't be confused with the "unofficial" theropod dinosaur that sometimes goes by the same name.)

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