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is an extinct genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...
Sauropterygia were a group of very successful aquatic reptiles that flourished during the Mesozoic before they became extinct at the end of the era. They were united by a radical adaptation of their shoulder, designed to support powerful flipper strokes...
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...
, from the Middle Jurassic
The Middle Jurassic is the second epoch of the Jurassic Period. It lasted from 176-161 million years ago. In European lithostratigraphy, rocks of this Middle Jurassic age are called the Dogger....
of Europe. Fossils have been found in England and France.
grew to around 6 metres (19.7 ft) long, with around half of that length being taken up by the animal's neck, which possessed 44 vertebrae. Behind the neck, Muraenosaurus
had a short, relatively inflexible body and powerful flippers. The head was remarkably small compared to the overall size of the animal, being only around 37 centimetres (14.6 in) long.