Shonisaurus Facts

Big enough to have a seven-foot-tall man for a snack, it is a good thing that the Shonisaurus has long been instinct. Shonisaurus, found mostly in the Shoshone Mountains in Nevada , Shonisaurus was a swimming fish somewhat like today’s dolphin. They are quite fascinating creatures. This dinosaur was from Ichthyosaur group (means fish lizards). There were about 10 in total of this group and Shonisaurus was the biggest. They are generally thought to have been about 50 feet in length, which is one big dolphin, that’s for sure. There is a rumor of one being found even bigger at 69 feet in length. It was told to be found in a remote river bank in Canada . This information was not made very public so scientists are not sure if it’s true. The fossils were never released.They were in the family of ichthyosaurs, and roamed the earth during the Triassic period, around 215 million years ago.

What did they eat?

Another interesting fact about the Shonisaurus is, while adults have no teeth, they were not always toothless. As they age, juvenile Shonisaurus’s lose their teeth once they learned how to nourish themselves. This nourishment is believed to have come from cephalopods such as squid and octopi.


The Shonisaurus was a massive marine reptile. They were at home in the deep oceans. While venturing closer to the shore at night to feed, they generally stayed immersed in deeper waters during the day. They are believed to have traveled up and down the coast of what is now western America, all the way near to South America.

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Physical Features/Characteristics:

The Shonisaurus was no tiny guy; it is one of the biggest marine dinosaurs of its time. It had a long, skinny, ‘beak,’ which came in handy when trying to capture its likely prey. These big guys are thought to be slower swimmers due to their ‘upside down’ caudal fin. The tail fluke was similar to many other types of fish, except that it was inverted with the lower lobe more significant than the top, well-known, faster, fish typically had the opposite tail characteristics.

With the Shonisaurus being a part of this genus, it was closely related to other ichthyosaurs such as Shastasaurus. There is much that we still do not know about the Shonisaurus or ‘The Good Mother,’ however, due to a large number of fossils being discovered together, it is believed that they were a social group and traveled in pods.

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