Kronosaurus is an extinct genus of short-necked pliosaur. It was among the largest pliosaurs, and is appropriately named after the leader of the Greek Titans, Kronos.
Discovery and species
Kronosaurus lived in the Early Cretaceous Period (Aptian-Albian).Kear BP. 2003. Cretaceous marine reptiles of Australia: a review of taxonomy and distribution. Cretaceous Research 24: 277303.
The holotype specimen of the species K. queenslandicus was described by Longman in 1924, and is currently in the Queensland Museum. Hampe described a second species, K. boyacensis, in 1992 from Colombia.
Body-length estimates had previously put the total length of Kronosaurus at 12.8 meters .Romer AS, Lewis AD. 1959. A mounted skeleton of the giant plesiosaur Kronosaurus. Breviora 112: 1-15. However, recent study comparing fossil specimens of Kronosaurus to other pliosaurs suggest that the previous estimate was an exaggeration, with true length probably only 9–10 meters .
The teeth of Kronosaurus are large in length . However, they lack carinae (cutting edges) and the distinct trihedral (three facets) of Pliosaurus and Liopleurodon teeth. The combination of large size, conical shape and lack of cutting edges allows for easy identification of Kronosaurus teeth in Cretaceous deposits from Australia.Massare JA. 1997. Introduction - faunas, behaviour and evolution. In: Callaway JM, Nicholls EL. (Eds.), Ancient Marine Reptiles. Academic Press, San Diego, pp. 401-421.
Large, round bite-marks have been found on the skull of an Albian-age Australian elasmosaurid (Tuarangisaurus) that could be from a Kronosaurus attack.Sachs S. 2005. Tuarangisaurus australis sp. nov. from the Lower Cretaceous of northeastern Queensland, with additional notes on the phylogeny of the Elasmosauridae. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 50 (2): 425-440.
Kronosaurus is featured in the Steve Alten novel, "The Trench", although he took great creative liberties presenting them as living thousands of feet below sea level and having gills. It was also included in the novel Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker and In the Time of the Dinosaurs by K. A. Applegate.
Genus Kronosaurus. The Plesiosaur Directory.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Kronosaurus