|A small herd of Cetiosaurus mogrebiensis Lapparent 1955 ©2008 Raul Lunia (usually known as DinoRaul)|
30 July 2014
Cetiosaurus, as noted, was originally described by Owen as a large crocodile. The logic used by Owen to support this idea is that any animal as large as Cetiosaurus would require the buoyancy of saltwater to survive without its own girth crushing and suffocating it. Owen may not have been completely off considering that the remains were discovered in an ancient woodland floodplain; however, due to this error in reasoning the name, "whale lizard," was created by Owen and many other fossil remains were attributed to this genus over time. Not all of those remains were what the original descriptions proposed them to be either; some were partial remains of other species, some were entirely different animals, and all of them were subject to further descriptions divulging their true nature as so often happens to early taxonomic assignments in paleontological history. Anyone with an interest in some of the named species that no longer "exist" under the genus are advised to consult this short list. Despite its large size Cetiosaurus is considered to have been a prey item for theropods like Megalosaurus and Eustreptospondylus. In terms of what Cetiosaurus could eat, its mid-range neck appears to have allowed it to strip ground level plants as well as middle height trees and ferns, leaving the tops for larger necked and taller sauropods.