Basic info Taxonomic history Classification Relationships
Morphology Ecology and taphonomy External Literature Search Age range and collections


Reptilia - Sauropterygia - Plesiosauridae

Synonymy list
YearName and author
1825Plesiosauridae Gray
1850Plesiosauridae Bonaparte p. 1
1861Crocodilus neogaeus Burmeister
1871Plesiosauridae Cope p. 235
1875Plesiosauridae Cope p. 15
1889Plesiosauridae Lydekker p. 120
1890Plesiosauridae Zittel p. 486
1903Plesiosauridae Stefano p. 66
1927Plesiosaurus neogaeus Huene p. 7
1940Plesiosauridae White p. 460 figs. 6a-f
1940Brancasauridae White p. 461 figs. 9a-c
1940Muraenosauridae White p. 461
1940Tremamesacleididae White p. 463 fig. 9d
1943Plesiosauridae Welles p. 212
1946Brancasauridae Kuhn p. 59
1946Muraenosauridae Kuhn p. 59
1946Plesiosauridae Kuhn p. 59
1946Tremamesacleididae Kuhn p. 59
1960Plesiosauridae Delair p. 53
1962Plesiosauridae Welles p. 3
1963Plesiosauridae Persson p. 7
1966Plesiosauridae Kuhn p. 116
1981Plesiosauridae Brown p. 340
1988Plesiosauridae Carroll
1999Plesiosauridae Carpenter p. 168 fig. 15
2010Plesiosauridae Ketchum and Benson p. 15
2011Plesiosauridae Ketchum and Benson p. 126
2011Plesiosauridae Schwermann and Sander p. 49

Is something missing? Join the Paleobiology Database and enter the data

phylumChordataHaeckel 1847
subclassDipnotetrapodomorpha(Nelson 2006)
Pistosauria(Baur 1890)
Plesiosauria(de Blainville 1835)
superfamilyPlesiosauroideaWelles 1943
familyPlesiosauridaeGray 1825
familyPlesiosauridaeGray 1825

If no rank is listed, the taxon is considered an unranked clade in modern classifications. Ranks may be repeated or presented in the wrong order because authors working on different parts of the classification may disagree about how to rank taxa.

R. Lydekker 1889In the skull (when known) the pterygoids diverging posteriorly; a small infraorbital foramen on either side of the palate. Pectoral vertebrae with a single costal articulation lying partly on the arch and partly on centrum ; dorsals with long transverse processes. Scapulas with large ventral (precoracoidal) plates ; coracoids with very long median symphysis, extending up to or in advance of scapular articulation. Pubis without foramen. Humerus and femur of moderate length and much expanded distally, without foramen or groove ; both these bones (propodials) much larger than epipodials (radius and ulna, and tibula and fibula), which are more or less laterally expanded ; phalangeals increased beyond the normal number, without terminal claws. Limbs probably invested in a common integument, and serving as paddles.
T. E. White 1940"Brachycephalic to dolicocephalic; 23 to 38 cervical vertebrae, 20 to 28 dorsals, 2 to 4 sacrals, 30 + caudals; cervical ribs single- or double-headed or fused to the centra; pectoral girdle usually with the full complement of bones; scapula and coracoid not meeting medial to scapulo-coracoid fenestra; posterolateral angles of coracoids not produced.
T. E. White 1940 (Muraenosauridae)"Brachycephalic; 28 to 44 cervical vertebrae, 22 to 25 dorsals, 3 to 4 sacrals, 30 + caudals; cervical ribs single-headed; posterolateral angles of coracoids produced; clavicles absent or reduced to narrow rods of bone; interclavicle undergoing reduction in the family (absent in Colymbosaurus); scapula meeting coracoid medial to scapulocoracoid fenestra, and the two forming a narrow bar between the fenestrae."
T. E. White 1940 (Brancasauridae)"Brachycephalic; 27 to 37 cervical vertebrae, 19 to 22 dorsal, 2 to 3 sacral, and 25 to 43 caudal; cervical ribs single- or doubleheaded; clavicles and interclavicle present and well developed; interclavicle with posterior process; scapula meeting coracoid medial to scapulo-coracoid fenestra; fenestra small and with a broad bar between; one or two openings in the girdle anterior to scapulo-coracoid fenestrae."
T. E. White 1940 (Tremamesacleididae)"Brachycephalic; 38 cervical vertebrae, 21 dorsal, 14 + caudal; cervical ribs singleheaded; clavicles and interclavicle present and well developed; interclavicle enclosing a foramen; scapula meeting coracoid medial to scapulo-coracoid fenestra and forming a narrow bar between the fenestrae."
D. S. Brown 1981Plesiosauroidea with five pairs of premaxillary teeth; about 24 pairs of dentary teeth; teeth ornamented with numerous longitudinal ridges; occipital condyle formed from the basioccipital only; overall length not known to exceed 3 m; not more than 32 cervical vertebrae; cervical centra of moderate relative length; cervical ribs double-headed; ventral rami of the scapulae remaining relatively narrow; epipodials longer than broad; the fifth metapodial retained in the metapodial row; hyperphalangy limited to about ten phalanges in the longest digit.