Reveal the Origin of the Fossils of a Marine Monster Discovered in Kansas

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The remains belonged to a reptile of one of the largest groups of known mosasaurs, which could reach 13 meters in length.

Researchers took more than a decade to realize that small fossils discovered in Kansas, USA, belonged to a newborn calf of Tylosaurus, a large marine dinosaur.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, small fragments of bones, some 85 million years old,  were found in 1991 and began to be studied in 2004.

Reveal the Origin of the Fossils of a Marine Monster Discovered in Kansas

At first, the scientists believed that the fossils were of a newborn Platecarpus, another type of short-snouted marine lizard that could reach about 5 or 6 meters in length. However, now paleontologists have determined that the bones belong, in reality, to a Tylosaurus, a giant mosasaur 13 meters long with a significantly protruding snout.

The fragments found include a partial snout with the teeth and bases of the teeth, a partial base of the brain and a section of the upper jaw. Thus, the researchers were able to estimate that the skull of the newborn reptile was about 30 centimetres long.

The lack of snout in the neonate specimen found, meanwhile, suggests to the researchers that the development of this feature occurred extremely rapidly, between birth and the juvenile stage, something that previous studies on the species had not noticed.

Reveal the Origin of the Fossils of a Marine Monster Discovered in Kansas

The Tylosaurus belonged to one of the largest groups of known mosasaurs. Of the 13 meters in length that measured an adult specimen, 1.8 meters corresponded to the head.

 

 

Source: Actualidad