Temporal Range: Middle Triassic (245-240 Mya)
Length: 3 metres
– Discovery: Ceresiosaurus was first named in 1931 by paleontologist Bernhard Peyer. Fossils have been discovered in both southern Switzerland and northern Italy but the majority of specimens have been recovered from the world famous Monte San Giorgio mountain. This site in Switzerland was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 due to it being one of the single best records of Triassic marine life.
– Description: Ceresiosaurus was one of the most elongated of the nothosaurs. It is believed that the animal would have grown to lengths of around three metres and it had some of the longest flippers ever seen within the nothosauroid family. These lengthy paddles were a result of an increased number of bones in each toe.
Ceresiosaurus had a powerful tail, a lengthy neck and body. These features led many to believe that Ceresiosaurus would have moved through the water through the use of body undulations. However the bone structure, especially in the thick tail and strong hips, suggest that it was a pursuit diver and hunted underwater using its strong, elongated paddles, much like a modern-day penguin.
(Restoration Source: http://masahatto2.p2.bindsite.jp/pg181.html)