One fact in life remains true regardless of if you’re an adult or a child: Dinosaurs are cool. Of course, coming face-to-face with one would be downright terrifying, but the idea that these massive (and, in many cases) perilous creatures used to roam this very Earth we inhabit is pretty wild. And while Jurassic Park has done a top-notch job of educating us with the various types of dinosaurs that used to exist (while giving us a few very memorable quotes along the way), there are definitely a few things you may not be aware of — especially in regards to water dinosaurs.
The fact of the matter is that there’s actually no such thing as water dinosaurs. (I know, I was surprised too!) According to Liza Charlesworth and Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer’s book Dinosaurs: The Very Latest Information and Hands-On Activities From the Museum of the Rockies, all dinosaurs lived on land. And even though some of them were able to swim in water occasionally, it was only temporary. None of them permanently resided in oceans, lakes, or even rivers.
It’s a hard concept to grasp since you would just naturally assume that dinosaurs were the dominant figures in all aspects of the world: land, air, and sea. But alas, just as you wouldn’t find a fierce lion in the depths of the ocean, neither would you find any dinosaur — at least from what has been discovered thus far.
Naturally, this leaves us with even more questions than answers. So, let’s dive a little further into these murky (and dino-less) waters. Hold onto your butts!
What water creatures did exist?
OK, so, if water dinos aren’t actually a thing, what types of water creatures lived during the Mesozoic Era? Paleontologists refer to these animals as swimming reptiles. But just because they weren’t technically dinosaurs doesn’t make them any less fierce or dangerous. You would not want to be swimming with these creatures lurking in the water.
Though it would be impossible to list all of them, here are some of the most notable sea creatures that existed back then:
- Ichthyosaur: Named after the Greek word for “fish lizard,” these animals were fish-like in appearance and could grow up to 10 (or even 40) feet in length.
- Plesiosaur: As giant carnivorous reptiles, these animals liked to feed on weaker creatures like the Ichthyosaurs and were known for their long necks and short tails.
- Basilosaurus: A type of whale that possessed sharp teeth and could reach up to 50 to 80 feet in length.
- Helicoprion: At 15 feet in length, this shark-like creature is seriously deadly due to its jagged, almost saw-like teeth (Google this if you’re looking for some nightmare fuel.)
- Pliosaur: A carnivorous reptile with a large head, short neck, and a tear-shaped body.
- Nothosaur: Similar to crocodiles, these reptiles have long, flat tails, short legs, and a set of very, very sharp teeth.
- Mosasaur: Aquatic lizards that had snake-like bodies and long snouts, they are known to some as the T-Rex of the seas.
Which brings me to our next category…
What water dinosaurs were in Jurassic World?
Dino lovers may recall that a massive sea creature made several very memorable appearances in Jurassic World. Though many of you probably just assumed this was a legit dinosaur, it’s a cloned version of the Mosasaurus, a type of species of mosasaurs, which — despite its lack of dino-cred — proved to be just as deadly as any land-based predator ever could be.
So, yeah, that thing that easily consumed a Great White Shark in front of spectators like it was nothing and dragged the hybrid T-Rex into its watery depths at the end of the film was basically a really, really, really big water lizard. Consider your mind officially blown.
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