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Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 152–150.8 Ma
Pleurosaurus goldfussi 2.jpg
P. goldfussi fossil specimen
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Rhynchocephalia
Family: Pleurosauridae
Genus: Pleurosaurus
Meyer, 1831
Type species
Pleurosaurus goldfussi
Meyer, 1831
  • P. goldfussi
    Meyer, 1831
  • P. ginsburgi
    Fabre, 1974

Pleurosaurus is an extinct genus of diapsid reptiles belonging to the group Sphenodontia, extinct relatives of the modern tuatara. Pleurosaurus fossils were discovered in the Solnhofen limestone formation of Bavaria, Germany and Canjuers, France. It contains two species, P. goldfussi and P. ginsburgi.[1]


Pleurosaurus is one of the few known aquatic sphenodontians. Its body was approximately 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) long,[2] and elongated for hydrodynamic streamlining, with comparatively short limbs and a powerful tail. It would have been able to swim rapidly, by undulating its slender body in a snake-like fashion. It had only small limbs, which probably did not aid in swimming, and nostrils placed far back on the head, close to the eyes.[3]


  1. ^ Dupret, V. (2004). The pleurosaurs: anatomy and phylogeny. Revue de Paléobiologie, 9: 61-80.[1]
  2. ^ Michael Benton, Vertebrate Paleontology 2009
  3. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 85. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.