Luetkesaurus is an extinct genus of plesiosaur from the Late Cretaceous of what is now the Kursk area of western Russia. Luetkesaurus was first named by V. Kiprijanoff in 1883, in honor of paleontologist and zoologist Christian Frederich Luetken; no type species has ever been designated. The genus is considered dubious, based on isolated teeth and vertebrae.
EtymologyEditIn short, the term Leptocleidus means "slender clavicle". It comes from a merge of the Greek words λεπτοσ, meaning "slender" and κλειδ (also spelled κλεισ) meaning clavicle.
With large clavicles and interclavicle and small scapulae, Leptocleidus resembled the Early Jurassic Rhomaleosaurus and members of the Cretaceous family, Polycotylidae. The animal had 21 teeth on either side of its maxilla and approximately 35 teeth on each side of the mandible. The Leptocleidus triangle-shaped skull had a crest running from a ridge on the end of the nose to the nasal region. Differing from other pliosaurids, Leptocleidus had single-headed cervical ribs and a deep depression in the centra of the neck vertebrae. Leptocleidus was on an average of 3 meters (10 feet) long. Leptocleidus superstes however, was found to be almost 50% smaller (1.5m, 5 ft) making it the smallest known species.
Distribution and habitatEdit
- Benton, Michael J., Shishkin, Mikhail A., and Unwin, David M. (2003) The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia. Cambridge University Press, 733 pp ISBN 052154582X.
- Luetkesaurus Professor Paul's Guide to Reptiles