Facts about Mosasaurs, an extinct prehistoric animal

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Other Prehistoric Animals   >   Mosasaurs

Mosasaurs



Mosasaurus
Click here for more Mosasaur Pictures

Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Order Squamata
  Suborder Scleroglossa
  Infraorder Anguimorpha
  Family Mosasauridae
Mosasaurs are a group of extinct marine reptiles. They were powerful swimmers with long streamlined snake-like bodies (although they did have four limbs all finned, and possibly a finned tail), and ate fish, turtles, sea urchins, and shellfish including molluscs. The smallest known mosasaur was about 10 feet (3 meters) long, but the largest grew as long as 57 feet (17.5 meters).

Mosasaurs were not dinosaurs, but were lepidosaurs (reptiles with overlapping scales, the group that includes lizards, snakes, and sphenodonts such as the tuatara):
  • Mosasaurs are believed to have evolved from aigialosaurs, which were semi-aquatic lizards that lived during the early Cretaceous period, and who are believed to be related to monitor lizards.

  • In 1869, Edward D. Cope suggested that Mosasaurs and snakes share a common marine ancestor. This idea was based on the similarities observed in Mosasaur and snake jaws, the reduced limbs, and the fact that Mosasaurs may have moved in a similar way to snakes. In the 1990s, the discovery of fossils of early snakes with vestigial limbs in marine sediments seemed to provide support for this hypothesis. However, more recently, other early snake fossils have been found, and since these show animals with hind limbs and an apparently burrowing lifestyle, some doubt has been cast on the idea that Mosasaurs and snakes shared a common ancestor.
Mosasaur skeletions:
Mosasaur fossils

Mosasaurs appear to have first evolved during early or middle Cretaceous period, perhaps around 96 million years ago. In the last 20 million years of the Cretaceous, following the extinction of Ichthyosaurs, they became the dominant predators. However, all Mosasaurs died out during the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period.

The first publicized discovery of a Mosasaur fossil occurred in 1778. A fossil was found in a limestone quarry in 1780, near the city of Masstricht in Holland. It was not however named or scientifically described until later, the name eventually given, Mosasaur, means "Meuse lizard", and refers to the nearby Meuse River. Subsequently, other fossils which had been found earlier in the same area, and had been on display since around 1770, were also identified as being from a Mosasaur. Since then, other Mosasaur fossils have been found in many other countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Sweden, and the United States, as well as in Africa and off the coast of Antarctica.

Mosasaurs Timeline:



Mosasaurs were marine reptiles that lived between 96 and 65 million years ago

Mosasaurs were marine reptiles that lived between 96 and 65 million years ago


Related Information & Resources


See Also

Mosasaur Books


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Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
By Marfé Ferguson Delano

National Geographic Children's Books
Released: 2007-10-09
Paperback (32 pages)

Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
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Relive the wonder of Sea Monsters, National Geographic's 3-D Large Format Film, and learn more about these weird prehistoric creatures of the deep. Here's the Official Children's Companion Book to the giant-screen film which launches in October on giant screens nationwide. Sea Monsters leads kids into the Late Cretaceous Era, 80 million years ago. Stunning images of giant sharks, enormous squids, massive marine reptiles, and flying creatures with razor-sharp teeth will thrill young imaginations. Follow the story of a marine reptile called Dolichorhynchops—Dolly for short—as she braves the dangers of her inland sea home. Enjoy the cool digitally generated images of creatures like Tylosaurus, a whale-size predator, and the long-necked Styxosaurus. The brief text will engage young readers in a fun, unthreatening way. Sea Monsters is a wild and informative read for all who have or haven't yet seen this wonderful movie.
Systematics and Morphology of American Mosasaurs (Reptilia, Sauria) (Classic Reprint)
By Dale A. Russell

Forgotten Books
Hardcover (248 pages)

Systematics and Morphology of American Mosasaurs (Reptilia, Sauria) (Classic Reprint)
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Product Description:
Excerpt from Systematics and Morphology of American Mosasaurs (Reptilia, Sauria)

Surely as much has been written about mosasaurs as any other group of fossil reptiles of comparable abundance and diversity. The division of the family Mosasauridae into three major subfamilies and the close relationship to varanid lizards has been generally recognized for more than fifty years. Yet on a generic and specific level their taxonomy has been so confused that even after a careful survey of the literature it was usually impossible to be sure of the correct binomial to use in identifying a given specimen. As a consequence modern verte brate paleontologists have by and large tended to ignore mosasaurs as a subject of research.

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
Sea Dragons: Predators of the Prehistoric Oceans
By Richard Ellis

Brand: University Press of Kansas
Hardcover (312 pages)

Sea Dragons: Predators of the Prehistoric Oceans
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Product Description:
Working from the fossil record, Richard Ellis explores the natural history of these fierce predators, speculates on their habits, and tells how they eventually became extinct - or did they? He traces the 200-million-year history of the great ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs who swam the ancient oceans - and who, according to some, may even still frequent the likes of Loch Ness.
The first book about these animals in nearly a century, Sea Dragons draws upon the most recent scientific research to reconstruct their lives and habitats. Along the way, the book also provides insights into and tales about the work, discoveries, and competing theories that compose the world of vertebrate paleontology.
Mosasaurus: Ruler of the Sea - a Smithsonian Prehistoric Pals Book (with Audiobook CD and poster) (Smithsonian's Prehistoric Pals)
By Karen Wagner

Soundprint
Hardcover (32 pages)

Mosasaurus: Ruler of the Sea - a Smithsonian Prehistoric Pals Book (with Audiobook CD and poster) (Smithsonian s Prehistoric Pals)
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The prehistoric sea can be a dangerous place, even for an enormous creature like Mosasaurus. Will Mosasaurus make his way through the water safely and find himself a tasty snack? Kids are bound to love this book with its detailed illustrations and storyline that has been reviewed by paleontologists at the Smithsonian Institution for accuracy. Included is an Audiobook CD and a tear-out poster for extended learning fun.



Book Features:
- Hardcover: Pull-out CD tray inside of cover
- Fantastic illustrations and accurate facts
- 32 pages
- Poster and pictorial glossary
- Audiobook CD
- Appropriate for ages 3-9
- Hardcover: 8 3/4 x 11 1/4 inches
Knowledge Encyclopedia Dinosaur!
By DK

Dorling Kindersley Ltd
Hardcover

Knowledge Encyclopedia Dinosaur!
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The dinosaur world as you've never seen it before Knowledge Encyclopedia Dinosaur! reveals jaw-dropping 3D dinosaur images which show each awe-inspiring creature in greater detail than ever before and bring the wonders of the dinosaur world to life. This is the only dinosaur encyclopedia you'll ever need, covering all the main dinosaur groups as well as marine reptiles, pterosaurs and other prehistoric animals. An all-new library of amazing 3D dinosaur images allow you a closer look at your favourite dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Barosaurus, while new dinosaur facts and theories bring you up-to-date with the latest developments in the dinosaur world. Packed full of facts, charts, timelines and illustrations Knowledge Encyclopedia Dinosaur! explores the amazing dinosaur world bringing these prehistoric animals back to life.
Sea Dragons: Predators of the Prehistoric Oceans
By Richard Ellis

University Press of Kansas
Paperback (326 pages)

Sea Dragons: Predators of the Prehistoric Oceans
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In the days when dinosaurs dominated the earth, their marine counterparts—every bit as big and ferocious—reigned supreme in prehistoric seas. In this entrancing book, Richard Ellis, one of the world�s foremost writers on the denizens of the deep, takes us back to the Mesozoic era to resurrect the fascinating lives of these giant seagoing reptiles.

Working from the fossil record, Ellis explores the natural history of these fierce predators, speculates on their habits, and tells how they eventually became extinct—or did they? He traces the 200-million-year history of the great ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs who swam the ancient oceans—and who, according to some, may even still frequent the likes of Loch Ness.

Picture if you will seventy-foot dragons with foot-long serrated teeth, or an animal that looked like a crocodile crossed with a shark the size of a small yacht. With its impossibly long neck, Plesiosaurus conybeari has been compared to �a giant snake threaded through the body of a turtle.� At a length of nearly sixty feet, Mosasaurus hoffmanni boasted powerful jaws and teeth that could crunch up even the hardest-shelled giant sea turtle. And Kronosaurus queenslandicus, perhaps the most formidable of the lot, had a skull nine feet long—more than twice that of Tyrannosaurus Rex—with teeth to match.

The first book about these amazing animals in nearly a century, Sea Dragons draws upon the most recent scientific research to vividly reconstruct their lives and habitats. Their fossils have been found all over the world—in Europe, Australia, Japan, and even Kansas—in lands that once lay on the floors of Jurassic and Triassic seas. Along the way, the book also provides intriguing insights into and entertaining tales about the work, discoveries, and competing theories that compose the fascinating world of vertebrate paleontology.

Ellis also graces his text with a set of incomparable illustrations. Widely hailed as our foremost artist of marine natural history, he depicts vividly how these creatures probably appeared and, through these likenesses, invites us to speculate on their locomotion, their predatory habits, their very lifestyles.

A genuine book of marvels and wonders, Sea Dragons will certainly stir one�s curiosity about our planet�s prehistoric past.
The Science of Sea Monsters: Mosasaurs and other Prehistoric Reptiles of the Sea
Book House
Paperback

The Science of Sea Monsters: Mosasaurs and other Prehistoric Reptiles of the Sea
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Millions of years ago, the oceans teemed with creatures that were every bit as fascinating and ferocious as the dinosaurs that ruled the land. These were the marine reptiles, including the massive-jawed pliosaur and the long-necked plesiosaur. This gruesome guide explores how these awesome creatures lived, how they hunted, and how we know about them today. Packed with fact-filled, easy-to-read text, quirky illustrations and side panels providing more icky information.
A new species of Globidens from South Dakota, and a Review of Globidentine Mosasaurs
By Dale A. Russell

Leopold Classic Library
Released: 2015-04-23
Paperback (30 pages)

A new species of Globidens from South Dakota, and a Review of Globidentine Mosasaurs
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Product Description:
Leopold Classic Library is delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive collection. As part of our on-going commitment to delivering value to the reader, we have also provided you with a link to a website, where you may download a digital version of this work for free. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. Whilst the books in this collection have not been hand curated, an aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature. As a result of this book being first published many decades ago, it may have occasional imperfections. These imperfections may include poor picture quality, blurred or missing text. While some of these imperfections may have appeared in the original work, others may have resulted from the scanning process that has been applied. However, our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. While some publishers have applied optical character recognition (OCR), this approach has its own drawbacks, which include formatting errors, misspelt words, or the presence of inappropriate characters. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with an experience that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic book, and that the occasional imperfection that it might contain will not detract from the experience.
Dinosaur Lake III:Infestation
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Kathryn Meyer Griffith
Released: 2014-12-31
Kindle Edition (411 pages)

Dinosaur Lake III:Infestation
 
Product Description:
Chief Park Ranger Henry Shore has dealt with and fought real live dinosaurs at his beloved Crater Lake National Park for over six years. With the help of his rangers, a few brave FBI friends and army soldiers he’d been victorious over a prehistoric lake creature and years later some particularly fiendish, and clever, specimens of the flying variety. He and his newspaper publisher wife, Ann, thought their park was finally rid of the monsters and they could reclaim their tranquil life in a place they cherished. Not so. For suddenly across the park new and even more malevolent mutant species of dinosaur begin to appear and create havoc, attacking the park’s visitors and threatening its peace. And this time the primeval scourge isn’t confined to just their park. The creatures have moved into the nearby towns, across the western United States and up into Canada. They are so much more aggressive, smarter and hungrier than any that have come before and the infestation is spreading further and faster than Henry and Ann can even imagine. This time there’s no easy way to defeat the dinosaurs. There’s too many of them and they’re too devious. This time it’s full out war and the victor will someday claim Earth. Now there is a Dinosaur Lake IV: Dinosaur Wars out and - yes I finally decided to write another a 5th one- will come out in 2018.
The Mosasaur: The Journal of the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society, Vol IV
By Editor William B. Gallagher

Delaware Valley Paleontological Society
Paperback
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