Critter of the Week: Pliosaurus

Meet Tigger. This big guy is always ready to flash a big, toothy smile, especially at mealtime.


Tigger plio.png

Tigger sure has a big appetite.  He’ll eat anything that fits in that giant mouth of his.  Don’t mind the teeth though, because he’s just a big softie.

Speaking of teeth, I’ve made a few changes to his smile.  I’d originally chosen Liopleurodon, the marine predator famous in Walking With Dinosaurs, as the critter for Tigger.  But I decided to change it to Pliosaurus for a few reasons.

  1. Pliosaurus is the pliosaur!  It was the original critter discovered that gave the whole group its name
  2. Pliosaurus doesn’t seem to be as well represented as Liopleurodon, probably because of Walking With Dinosaurs.  
  3. Pliosaurus is easier to spell and say than Liopleurodon.  I have to sound out that name in my head every time I write it. 😛 Kids are awesome at saying long dino names like a boss, but come on, that one is just plain hard unless you’ve heard it. *cough*Walking With Dinosaurs*cough*

What’s the difference between this picture and the last one?

I’m glad you asked, because here’s where I get to geek out on you. 😀  But first, a quick disclaimer.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, because I’m not.  I’m just a hardworking mom doing my best to make a scientifically accurate picture book based on prehistoric animals.  I’m just sharing what I learn in the process, so if you happen to be an expert, please let me know if I’ve got something wrong! I’d be happy to hear from someone more experienced. 🙂

Liopleurodon skull. Picture was found on, where credit is given to Markus Felix Bühler

Now, Top left picture is the original sketch, which is based on liopleurodon.  Compared to the bottom picture of the skull, now I see where I got the teeth wrong a bit.  Shows what happens when you use a toy for reference. A very well sculpted Wild Safari model, but still a toy. 🙂

Comparing both skull and sketch to the top right and middle pictures, you can see a few big differences.  You can really go into technical detail, but the basics are…

  • the slope of the forehead
  • the shape of the mandible, the bottom jaw.
  • the size and arrangement of the teeth.

So a casual glance looks like I didn’t change much, but a closer look shows a much different animal. 🙂


Making progress…

I just want to say thank you for stopping by to chit chat with me on my little corner of internet. 🙂

It truly is humbling (and awesome!) to know that I get visitors all the way from Spain and Indonesia.  I have no idea who came from where of course, so there’s no way I’d ever know where you live unless you wanted to share your address with me.  It’s just cool to see the little map and which countries are colored in. 😀  Isn’t technology amazing?

Thank you for taking the time to read.  Life is busy and time is irreplaceable, so I hope I’ve done what I can to make your stay enjoyable.

If there’s anything I can do to make things better around here, then I’d love to hear from you!  I know there isn’t a lot on the site so far, but what do you like best?  Why do you like it?  I’d love to hear your answer in the comments. 🙂 


Coming Next Week…

Two thrown in for the price of one this time around.  This pair are always happy to meet new friends. 🙂

Share your guess in the comments! They’ll be a couple of the critters over on the critter page. 🙂

17 thoughts on “Critter of the Week: Pliosaurus

            1. No, Pliosaurus would be the genus. The type species would be the fossil specimen used to determine if a new fossil is Pliosaurus. That fossil is known as the holotype specimen. 🙂

              But the big names we’re familiar with, like Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Pliosaurus are the name of the genus. Stegosaurus stenops would be a species of the genus Stegosaurus, and the species that we have the most fossil material on (and can best determine if we find another Stegosaurus) is the type species. 🙂


  1. Hi Brownie, thank you for stopping by! 🙂

    The diagram is the skull of pliosaurus, while the photo of the slightly flattened skull is liopleurodon. 🙂 Pliosaurus seems to have a smoother profile overall, which is one of the things that makes it different.

    I’m glad you like the site. I have a lot of fun here, and I’m learning a lot about different animals I never would’ve known a lot about. The critter profiles are the most fun for me too. 😀 I’m almost impatient to see each critter’s completed page, with a size ref, short stories, perhaps even a short animated sequence. Big plans, but one step at a time! We’ll get there.

    Haha, your guess is spot on. 🙂 *gives virtual brownie*


  2. Very interesting! Now I see why you said the name was a bit confusing a couple of posts back. 🙂 But…the skull diagram next to the sketch looks a little different from the photo of the skull below. I guess that’s just because it’s simplified?

    The whole site is great so far, but I really like the critter profiles. I’m not sure why. I guess because it’s sort of interactive, in a sense…and it’ll be even more interactive once you make the little pamphlets to go with them. I can just imagine a seven-year-old printing them out and taping them to the wall, as if she had her very own pet dinosaurs. 😀

    Let’s see…The only dino pair I can think of from the top of my head would be Copper and Daisy. ^^


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