|“||Nothosaurs can be a bit nippy.||„|
|— Allen, about Nothosaurus|
Nothosaurus (name meaning "False Reptile") was a primitive marine reptile from the Triassic, 240-210 MYA. The teeth are forward-pointed to make it easier to catch fish. Despite being mainly aquatic, it would often climb onto land to rest or lay its eggs. Around 13 feet long, with four legs, a long tail, and a long neck, it was an ancestor of the group of marine reptile known as the plesiosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous.
Nothosaurus was a medium-sized marine reptile, measuring about 10-13 feet in length. Unlike the more advanced plesiosaurs and pliosaurs, it didn't have flippers, but short legs with webbed feet, which were used as a method of locomotion underwater and on land - unlike the later marine reptiles, Nothosaurus was one of the select few Triassic reptiles that could live and move both on the land and in the sea. It had a streamlined and flexible body as well as a flat, eel-like tail. This combination made it a great swimmer. Mainly situated underwater, it would only go onto land to rest or sunbathe, as well as to lay its eggs. Nothosaurus, like all sea reptiles, need to go up to the surface to breathe. When swimming, Nothosaurus would use its tail, legs and webbed feet to propel and steer its way through the water.The head of Nothosaurus was large. This marine reptile was equipped with dozens of needle-sharp, interlocking teeth in a broad and flat skull. Its head was the perfect weapon to catch prey. Not only that, Nothosaurus hunted by sneaking up slowly on prey, such as shoals of fish, then accelerating at high speed at the last minute. With such a useful mouth design, not many animals could escape the Nothosaurus' jaws. Even though they could snap their jaws with tremendous force, the muscles used for opening its jaws were very weak, similar to the modern crocodiles.
Nothosaurus was a very curious marine reptile. They lived in pairs and would hunt together. If they encountered an unfamiliar creature, they would investigate it to determine if it was a threat or not. If the animal was small, chance are that the reptile would eat it. If larger, the Nothosaurus would either be curious or would flee.
Like the other marine reptiles that lived in its environment, Nothosaurus lacked gills and would have to come to the surface of the water to breathe. Once done, it could hold its breath for a very long time.
Nothosaurus would occasionally travel on land to either bask or lay eggs, much like modern Sea Turtles do. The mother would drag herself onto land and would bury her eggs underneath the sand and would abandon them to their fate. But this was always a risk, as carnivorous dinosaurs use this as an opportunity to get an easy meal, especially the Nothosaurus hatchlings. Once hatched, the juveniles would scramble to the water while evading dinosaurian predators in the process.