Mosasaurus ("lizard from the Meuse River") was soon named by the renowned naturalist Georges Cuvier, and the general name "mosasaur" attached to other members of this ancient family. Mosasaurus had four paddle-like limbs on a long, streamlined body and a long, powerful tail. Since the genus was first named in the early 19th century, numerous species have been assigned to Mosasaurus, both from North America and Europe. Well, it ate just about anything it wanted. Artwork by Nobu Tamura. The Mosasaurus had a second set of teeth in his upper palace that ensured preys it was trying to swallow had no chance of escaping. The mosasaurs were only distant relatives with the pliosaurs and plesiosaurs that preceded them and supplanted them for the dominance of the oceans at the time of the Upper Cretaceous. In geological terms, one of the odd things about mosasaurs is that their fossils tend to turn up far inland, especially in the western United States and the interior of western Europe, along with other continents. In general, it is conceivable that this apex predator of the prehistoric depths feasted on almost anything living in the ocean. Mosasaur Lifestyles . The tail of the mosasaurs was very similar to that of whales, sharks and ichthyosaurs (another aquatic lizard that disappeared from the Cretaceous oceans before the arrival of the Mosasaurus). The skull was more robust than in other mosasaurids, and the lower jaws (mandibles) attached very tightly to the skull. The holotype skeleton for the Mosasaurus hoffmanni is MNHNP AC9648, which is just a skull. At the time they went extinct, mosasaurs were facing increased competition from prehistoric sharks, a good example being Cretoxyrhina (aka the "Ginsu Shark"). The Mosasaurus is an extinct species of huge carnivorous aquatic lizards. A notion that went against prevailing religious thought at the time and was very controversial. To top it off, it had long jaws which were filled with lots of razor-sharp teeth. It was approximately 50 feet long – or longer than a semi-truck trailer and it weighed about 15 tons – or almost twice the weight of an elephant. Mosasaurus was among the last of the mosasaurids, and among the largest. Although they were able to dive, they evidently did not venture into deeper waters. However, paleontologists believe that its diet consisted of fish, shellfish and squids. As you might expect with such a long-lasting family of marine reptiles, not all mosasaurs were in the same weight class or pursued the same diet. Reasoning by analogy with modern marine predators, like the Great White Shark, it's likely that bigger mosasaur genera like Mosasaurus and Hainosaurus feasted on their fellow mosasaurs and marine reptiles, while smaller species like Clidastes made do with relatively harmless prehistoric fish. on How long was the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs? Fossil ammonites have been found with many telltale Mosasaur toothprints in their shells, indicating that Mosasaurs repeated bit these hard-shelled animals in order to break their shell and get to the soft meat. It was big but it wasn’t nearly that big. We are the world's largest online educational resource dedicated to dinosaurs, paleontology, prehistoric animals and everything related to it. Everything on Paleontology, curiosities, facts, etc…. Many researchers have suggested that certain European species are actually synonyms of their American counterparts, though because many of the specimens involved are incomplete, scientists have gone back and forth regarding which species are synonyms and which are not. The earliest remains of Mosasaurus were discovered long before society was educated on evolution, dinosaurs and marine reptiles. The closest assumption, however, was made by the naturalist Aadrian Camper, who assumed that these were monitor lizard bones. Temperament. The Mosasaurus is thought to have been hunting near the surface of the water and feeding mainly on seabirds, sharks, large fish, seafood, squid, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs and even other mosasaurs. As with most mosasaurids, the legs and feet of Mosasaurus were modified into flippers, and the front flippers were larger than the hind flippers. Plesiosaurus, the Long-Necked Marine Reptile, The 20 Biggest Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles, 10 Facts About Elasmosaurus, Ancient Marine Reptile, Plesiosaur and Pliosaur Pictures and Profiles, Plesiosaurs and Pliosaurs - The Sea Serpents, Learn About the Different Dinosaur Periods, Tylosaurus: From the Shallow Seas of North America, The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Kansas.
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