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louisedennis
10 May 2019 @ 08:43 pm
OK, so this isn't remotely random because I've not yet had a chance to throw a bunch of fossils into my random picture generator. However I was due to post this month's Dinosaur of the Month to primeval_denial, so have a Mosasaur.





Mosasaurs were a group of marine reptiles that flourished in the late Cretaceous. They were the dominant marine predator following the extinction of ichthyosaurs and pliosaurs.

Mosasaurs varied in size from under a meter to over 17m long with most species on the larger size. They had a body shape similar to modern monitor lizards with paddle-like flippers and broad tails.

Mosasaurs probably evolved from semi-aquatic reptiles. Early species were amphibious but the later, larger species were specialised for life in water and probably could no longer move on the land. However Mosasaurs remained air breathers and gave birth to live young.

Mosasaurs had large flexible skulls which enabled them to swallow their prey almost whole. Some mosasaurs had blunt crushing teeth probably adapted to eating molluscs such as ammonites. They possess the "Jacobson's Organ", a structure used by snakes and lizards to detect scent particles so they probably used smell to hunt their prey. They also have large eyes, suggesting acute eyesight. Apparently a Tylosaurus fossil was found with the remains of a hespernornis, a possible shark and a smaller mosasaur inside it indicating a fairly wide range of prey species.

References:

DK Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life.
Wikipedia: Mosasaur

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/579020.html.