Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Order Ichthyosauria
Family Temnodontosauridae
Genus Temnodontosaurus
1st Species Temnodontosaurus platyodon
2nd Species Temnodontosaurus eurycephalus
3rd Species ‬Temnodontosaurus‭ ‬nuertingensis
4th Species Temnodontosaurus‭ ‬trigonodon
Other attributes
Time Range 198-174 mya
Location United Kingdom, Germany, France
Name Meaning Cutting-tooth reptile
Physical Dimensions 7.5 meters long for T.platyodon; 6 meters long for T.eurycephalus; 9.2 meters long for T.trigonodon
Dietary Classification Carnivore
Temnodontosaurus is a temnodontosaurid ichthyosaurian reptile from the Early-Middle Jurassic of the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. It was named in 1889 by Richard Lydekker. It was the biggest marine predator to swim the Early Jurassic seas, as well as one of the last giant ichthyosaurs.


Temnodontosaurus resembled the generic ichthyosaur. It had a sleek, streamlined body, 4 flippers, a long tail with a shark-like fin on its end, a large fin on its back, and a conical head with large jaws. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.


Temnodontosaurus was a predator, preying on fish, cephalopods, and smaller marine reptiles. In one Temnodontosaurus species, Temnodontosaurus eurycephalus, the teeth were sturdy and robust (heavily built), and were used for crushing large prey, while in other Temnodontosaurus species, the teeth were thin and pointy, and were used for catching slippery fish (although species like Temnodontosaurus trigonodon were not above going after the occasional smaller ichthyosaur); in fact, one Temnodontosaurus species, Temnodontosaurus azerguensis, had no teeth at all.


Due to its streamlined body, Temnodontosaurus was a fast swimmer, often propelling itself through the water using its finned tail (like other ichthyosaurs), as well as using its smaller pectoral fins for steering. Like other marine reptiles, it lived in the open ocean; however, unlike them, it never went near the coast. As well as this, like most other ichthyosaurs, it gave birth to live young, with pups being delivered tail-first in order to prevent any risk of drowning. Most Temnodontosaurus species preferred to snag fish, squid, and belemnites with their pointy teeth, seldom going after larger prey; however, one species of Temnodontosaurus, the aforementioned T.eurycephalus, went after tougher prey such as ammonites and even marine reptiles such as Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus, using its large, heavily-built teeth to crush them and tear them to pieces.

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