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Liopleurodon was the biggest carnivore the world has ever known. Its name means 'smooth sided tooth'. It lived 160 to 155 million years ago, while another specie lived 145 million years ago.

Fact File

Length: 15 metres

A pair of Liopleurodons

Height: not very tall, it swam lengthways, about 2 metres

Weight: 20 tonnes

Diet: Carnivorous

Prey

Liopleurodon would have eaten anything that was foolish enough to come too close to it, but it would have mainly hunted Opthalmosaurus and Cryptoclidus. The jaws of Liopleurodon were up to 2 metres long, and it would have eaten prey in just one or two bites. There were also Jurassic shairks, such as Hybodus that Liopleurodon would have eaten.

Description

Liopleurodon, seen from below

Liopleurodon's head was 3 metres long, and its 2 metre long jaws contained teeth up to 30cm long. Each flipper was 2 metres long, large enough for a full-grown man to lie on . Liopleurodons could live to be over 50 years old.

Popular Culture

Liopleurodon featured in the third episode of the Walking With Dinosaurs TV Series, 'Cruel Sea', and is seen chasing Opthalmosaurus. In one incident, it bit the Opthalmosaurus in half. It also ate a Eustreptospondylus standing on the shore, before being beached by a storm, and becoming a feast for other Eustreptospondylus.

In the 2009 novel Meg: Hell's Aquarium, science fiction author Steve Alten included a Liopleurodon in the plot. Alten took several creative liberties, such as listing the animal's length at 122 feet, depicting the creature with gills, to have a weight of up to 200,000 pounds, and the ability to do battle with the sixty-foot prehistoric Great White Shark: Carcharodon megalodon.

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