Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Gronausaurus is an extinct genus of leptocleidid plesiosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Germany. It is a monotypic genus and the type species is Gronausaurus wegneri. It is known from a single skeleton including teeth, parts of the jaws, the braincase, vertebrae, pieces of ribs, part of the pectoral girdle, the entire pelvic girdle, and some limb bones. The skeleton was discovered in Gronau, North Rhine-Westphalia in 1912 by paleontologist Theodor Wegner (the namesake of the species), but it was originally identified as that of Brancasaurus brancai, a plesiosaur that had been named in 1910 from fossils in the same locality. The skeleton found in 1912 was assigned to its own genus and species in 2013. A phylogenetic analysis of Gronausaurus indicates that it is most closely related to Brancasaurus and that both fall within the family Leptocleididae.
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