Nothosaurs (order Nothosauria) were Triassic marine sauropterygian reptiles that may have lived similar to today's seals. It lived during the whole Triassic period.
Nothosaurs were long-necked, long-tailed, fish-eating reptiles ranging from a not many inches to 20 feet (6 metres) long. Nothosaurs had four wide, paddle-like limbs with webbed fingers and toes which helped control the animal through the water when swimming. Their nostrils were on the top end of the muzzle. They breathed air but spent mainly in the water.
Like Seals, they would catch food in the water but come aground on rocks and beaches. They almost certainly laid their eggs on land but hunted and ate in the sea. Nothosaurs ate fish and other little swimming animals like shrimp. They fished using their jagged teeth and long snout. Their neck was quite long and the head was lengthen and flattened and fairly small in relation to the body. The margins of the extended jaws were equipped with many sharp outward-pointing teeth.
The nothosaurs consist of two suborders - the Pachypleurosaurs, tiny, prehistoric forms, and the factual Nothosaurs, which evolved from pachypleurosaurs. Nothosaur, like reptiles were in turn ancestral to the more entirely marine plesiosaurs, which replaced them at the end of the Triassic period.
Fossils have been established in what is now Europe (Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland), North Africa, and Asia (China, Israel, and Russia).