Liopleurodon in Germany / Tübingen

Skeleton of Liopleurodon ferox in Tübingen / Germany

This very well preserved Skeleton of a Liopleurodon ferox is world-known. You can find it in the the Exhibition of the Paleontological Museum in Tübingen. The fossils were originally found in England, and are depicted in numerous books.

The length of the skeleton is about 4.5m in total, so it came from a subadult reptile. The size of the Liopleurodon is often stated as up to 25 meters but in reality these marine reptiles grew much smaller. In the second part of the BBC documentary “Dinosaurs in the Realm of the Giants” a gigantic liopleurodon appeared in the second episode, the length of which was indicated at 25m. As a result, it was written on countless Internet pages, in magazines and also in some books that Liopleurodon ferox became 25m. In fact, this idea is based on a false basis. The fragmentary remains of some extremely large pliosaurs have been found in the mud deposits from the Oxford area, from which the skeleton depicted above originates. The largest bones indicated pliosaurs of about 18m, after which the makers of “Dinosaur-In the Realm of the Giants” thought that the largest specimen of this species ever existed was certainly even larger. In fact, this is actually mentioned in the episode, namely that the old Liopleurodon male is supposed to be the largest specimen of its kind ever. There has been no physical proof of such large pliosaurs at all, however, and in addition, those finds of giant pliosaurs do not appear to belong to Liopleurodon ferox at all, but to another, as yet undescribed species. Liopleurodons with a length of 25m have thus most likely never existed, even if this species with lengths of probably up to 10m grew still larger than an adult orca.

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