Image: Dmitry Bogdanov

Pliosaurs were a group of fearsome, carnivorous marine reptiles related to the long-necked plesiosaurs.

Pliosauroids, commonly referred to as Pliosaurs, inhabited the earth during the early Jurassic to the late Cretaceous periods, and in their heyday, they were apex predators of the ocean. Imagine a saltwater crocodile, but twice the size. That’s a pliosaur. 

Their bodies were long, their necks were short, and they boasted gigantic hind flippers that allowed them to move effectively through the water.

Unlike plesiosaurs, which primarily fed on fish and cephalopods (squid, octopi, and the like), pliosaurs were indiscriminate eaters, often consuming fish, sharks, dinosaurs, and plesiosaurs. They spanned more than forty feet in length and had a similarly sized functioning brain. 

Image: Dmitry Bogdanov

Their sharp, conical teeth suggest a genetic link to the modern saltwater crocodile.

What’s more, they were also believed to have had a bite force stronger than Tyrannosaurus rex and theoretically ten times stronger than any modern animal on earth today.

Like the rest of the terrifying marine reptiles, pliosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period alongside the dinosaurs and pterosaurs. Watch this footage from the BBC documentary Planet Dinosaur: