Mosasaurus (“lizard of the Meuse River”)

… is a genus of mosasaur, carnivorous, aquatic lizards (or saurians), somewhat resembling flippered crocodiles, with elongated heavy jaws. The genus existed during the Maastrichtian age of the Cretaceous period (Mesozoic era), around 70–65 million years ago in the area of modern Western Europe and North America. The name means “Meuse lizard”, as the first specimen was found near the Meuse River.

As with most mosasaurs, their legs and feet are modified into hydrofoil-like flippers, with the forelimbs larger than the hindlimbs. Mosasaurus reached lengths of about 18 meters. Mosasaurus was among the last mosasaur genera, and among the largest.

The skull was more robustly built than in other mosasaurs, as the mandibles articulated very tightly with the skull. It had a deep, barrel-shaped body, and with its fairly large eyes, poor binocular vision, and poorly developed olfactory bulbs, experts believe that Mosasaurus lived near the ocean surface, where it preyed on fish, turtles, ammonites, and possibly smaller mosasaurs. The animal remained near the surface and although it was able to dive, it evidentially did not venture into deeper waters…

(read more: Wikipedia)

(images: T - Nobu Tamura; B - Ghedoghedo)

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