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Temporal range: Early to Late Cretaceous
Cimoliasaurus magnus vertebrae.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Sauropterygia
(unranked): Eusauropterygia
Order: Plesiosauria
Family: Elasmosauridae
Genus: Cimoliasaurus
Leidy, 1851
  • C. magnus Leidy, 1851 (type)

Cimoliasaurus was a plesiosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of New Jersey. It grew from 13 to 25 ft long.


The name is derived from the Greek Κιμωλία/kimolia, meaning "white chalk", and σαύρος/sauros, meaning "lizard", in reference to the fact that the deposits in which it was found bear a superficial resemblance to the chalk deposits of the Western Interior Seaway.

Taxonomic history[edit]

A: Cimoliasaurus australis

The name Cimoliasaurus magnus was coined by Joseph Leidy for ANSP 9235, one anterior and 12 posterior cervicals collected in Maastrichtian-aged greensand deposits in Burlington County, New Jersey.[1]

In his catalogue of plesiosaur and ichthyosaur specimens preserved in the NHM, the British zoologist Richard Lydekker referred several Jurassic and Cretaceous plesiosaur species to Cimoliasaurus, including the new species C. richardsoni (now considered a species of Cryptoclidus) and C. cantabrigiensis, as well as Colymbosaurus and a number of previously described species from the Cambridge Greensand and Chalk Group.[2]

Nowadays, Cimoliasaurus is now recognized as being a derived elasmosaurid, effectively making the family name Cimoliasauridae Delair, 1959 a junior synonym of Elasmosauridae.[3]

Misassigned nominal species[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Leidy, J. 1851. [Descriptions of a number of fossil reptilian and mammalian remains]. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. 5:325-327.
  2. ^ Lydekker., R., 1889, Catalogue of the fossil Reptilia and Amphibia in the British Museum (Natural History). Part II. Containing the orders Ichthyopterygia and Sauropterygia: London, Printed by Order of the Trustees of the British Museum, p. 307pp.
  3. ^ F. Robin O'Keefe and Hallie P. Street (2009). "Osteology Of The Cryptoclidoid Plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis, With Comments On The Taxonomic Status Of The Cimoliasauridae". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29 (1): 48–57.