Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Order Plesiosauria
Suborder Plesiosauroidea
Family Cryptoclididae
Subfamily Cryptoclidinae
Genus Cryptoclidus
1st Species Cryptoclidus eurymerus
2nd Species Cryptoclidus oxoniensis
Other attributes
Time Range 166-164 mya
Location United Kingdom, France
Name Meaning Hidden clavicle
Physical Dimensions 2.9 meters long
Dietary Classification Carnivore

Cryptoclidus is a cryptoclidid plesiosaurian reptile from the Middle Jurassic of the United Kingdom and France. It was named in 1892 by Harry Govier Seeley. It was notable for its small clavicle, which was buried between its shoulder bones.


Cryptoclidus was a plesiosaur with a bulky body, 4 flippers, a short tail with a small fin on its end, a long neck, and a small head with a mouth filled with sharp, interlocking teeth. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.


Cryptoclidus was a predator, preying on fish and cephalopods. Its sharp teeth were used to get a hold of slippery prey, and its long neck would have helped it snake into schools of fish.


Cryptoclidus would have regularly preyed on fish and cephalopods, often swimming near groups of its prey and flexing its neck to select an individual before grabbing it with its jaws. Sometimes, it would have also used its somewhat broad snout and interlocking teeth to sift food items from the sand. As well as this, a study done on its nostrils had led to the theory that it had a good sense of smell, and was able to detect odors and chemical traces in the water; this could allow it to detect hidden prey. Like its semi-close relative, Plesiosaurus, Cryptoclidus was also theorized to be able to crawl onto the rocky shores and lay eggs on land; however, with its bulky body and lack of skeletal features allowing it to do so, it was even less built for crawling on land than Plesiosaurus was, and so, would have been entirely aquatic, giving birth to live young.

In popular cultureEdit

Cryptoclidus was featured in the 3rd episode of the 1999 documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, where it is depicted as being able to crawl onto land in order to escape the jaws of the (horribly oversized) Liopleurodon prowling the seas. As well as this, it was misplaced through space (the episode took place in the Late Jurassic) and oversized to a length of 8 meters.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.