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Temporal range: Early Jurassic, 199.6–198 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Sauropterygia
Order: Plesiosauria
Family: Rhomaleosauridae
Genus: Eurycleidus
Andrews, 1922
Type species
Eurycleidus arcuatus
(Owen, 1840 [originally Plesiosaurus arcuatus])

Eurycleidus is an extinct genus of large-bodied rhomaleosaurid known from the Early Jurassic period (most likely earliest Hettangian stage) of the United Kingdom. It contains a single species, E. arcuatus.[1] Like other plesiosaurs, Eurycleidus probably lived on a diet of fish, using its sharp needle-like teeth to catch prey. Its shoulder bones were fairly large, indicating a powerful forward stroke for fast swimming.


Most phylogenetic analyses find the type species of the genus, Eurycleidus arcuatus, to be a relatively basal rhomaleosaurid.[2][3][4][1] A second species, E. megacephalus (Stutchbury, 1846 [originally Rhomaleosaurus megacephalus]), was re-assigned to this genus by Smith (2007).[2] However, most analyses find E. megacephalus to represent an unnamed genus, which is distinct from both Eurycleidus and Rhomaleosaurus.[3][5][4] E. megacephalus was moved to its own genus Atychodracon by Adam Smith in 2015.[6]

The cladogram below shows E. arcuatus phylogenetic position among other plesiosaurs following Benson et al. (2012).[1]





Stratesaurus taylori

Macroplata tenuiceps

Avalonnectes arturi

Eurycleidus arcuatus

Meyerasaurus victor

Maresaurus coccai

Atychodracon megacephalus

Archaeonectrus rostratus

Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni

Rhomaleosaurus thorntoni

Rhomaleosaurus zetlandicus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Roger B. J. Benson, Mark Evans and Patrick S. Druckenmiller (2012). "High Diversity, Low Disparity and Small Body Size in Plesiosaurs (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) from the Triassic–Jurassic Boundary". PLoS ONE 7 (3): e31838. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031838. PMC 3306369. PMID 22438869. 
  2. ^ a b Adam S. Smith (2007). "Anatomy and systematics of the Rhomaleosauridae (Sauropterygia, Plesiosauria)". Ph.D. thesis, University College Dublin. 
  3. ^ a b Adam S. Smith and Gareth J. Dyke (2008). "The skull of the giant predatory pliosaur Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni: implications for plesiosaur phylogenetics" (PDF). Naturwissenschaften 95: 975–980. doi:10.1007/s00114-008-0402-z. PMID 18523747. 
  4. ^ a b Hilary F. Ketchum and Roger B. J. Benson (2011). "A new pliosaurid (Sauropterygia, Plesiosauria) from the Oxford Clay Formation (Middle Jurassic, Callovian) of England: evidence for a gracile, longirostrine grade of Early-Middle Jurassic pliosaurids". Special Papers in Palaeontology 86: 109–129. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01083.x. 
  5. ^ Roger B. J. Benson, Hilary F. Ketchum, Leslie F. Noè and Marcela Gómez-Pérez (2011). "New information on Hauffiosaurus (Reptilia, Plesiosauria) based on a new species from the Alum Shale Member (Lower Toarcian: Lower Jurassic) of Yorkshire, UK". Palaeontology 54 (3): 547–571. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01044.x. 
  6. ^ Smith, Adam S. (22 April 2015). "Reassessment of ‘Plesiosaurus’ megacephalus (Sauropterygia: Plesiosauria) from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, UK". Palaeontologia Electronica 18 (1): 1–20.