|CLASSIFICATION||Cimoliasauridae, Elasmosauroidea, Plesiosauria|
|AGE||Early Cretaceous (Albian) 110 MYA|
|LOCATION||White Cliffs, New South Wales|
|SIZE||4 metres (13 feet) long|
Cimoliasaurus was a small long-necked plesiosaur that was a primitive cousin to the generally much larger elasmosaurs. Cimoliasaurs have been found in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe. They ranged in size from just a few metres up to about 8 metres in length (about 13 to 26 feet), and would have fed mostly on fish.
The Australian species, C.maccoyi is based on some well preserved neck vertebrae and hind paddle bones, as well as a tooth and some fragments of rib, all of them opalised. It is said to be so similar to C.planus from England and France that they may well be the same species.
White Cliffs, in north western New South Wales, is known as Australia's first mining town, and various opalised marine reptile and dinosaur fossils have been recovered from the area. Etheridge described Cimoliasaurus leucospelus in 1897 based on some incomplete vertebrae, teeth and paddle fragments from White Cliffs, which have since been reassigned to ?Dolichorhynchops (=Trinacomerum) sp, a small pliosaur. Fragmentary evidence of a theropod dinosaur has also been recovered from the area.
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