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Steneosaurus (Wikimedia Commons)


Steneosaurus (Greek for "narrow lizard"); pronounced STEN-ee-oh-SORE-us


Shores of western Europe and northern Africa

Historical Period:

Early Jurassic-Early Cretaceous (180-140 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

Up to 12 feet long and 200-300 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Long, narrow snout; armor plating


About Steneosaurus:

Although it's not quite as popular as other prehistoric crocodiles, Steneosaurus is well-represented in the fossil record, with over a dozen named species ranging from western Europe to northern Africa. This ocean-going crocodile was characterized by its long, narrow, tooth-studded snout, relatively stubby arms and legs, and the tough armor plating along its back--which must have been an effective form of defense, since the various species of Steneosaurus span a full 40 million years, from the early Jurassic to the early Cretaceous periods.

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