5.2" Rooted Mosasaur Tooth With Bone Fragments - Morocco
This is a cool piece from the Upper Cretaceous, phosphate deposits of Morocco. There is a large, rooted, 5.2" Mosasaur (Prognathodon) tooth associated with various bone fragments and a partial fossil shark tooth. The root of the tooth is fairly eroded. Comes with an acrylic display stand.
These teeth are collected as a byproduct of the massive phosphate mining operations near Khourigba. The locals collected the teeth and other fossils saving them from certain destruction by rock crusher. There are as many as 10 different species of Mosasaurs in these deposits, and determining the species of individual teeth is often difficult. A tooth morphology guide is linked below.
Tooth morphology of mosasaurid species from the Maastrichtian Phosphates of Morocco.
Larger mosasaurs were the great leviathans of their time, extending 10–15 m, or 33–49 ft long. Hainosaurus holds the record for longest mosasaur, at a seemingly impossible, 57 ft. The smaller genera were still an impressive, 10–20 ft long. Mosasaurs probably evolved from semi-aquatic, scaled reptiles which were more similar in appearance to modern-day monitor lizards. They had double-hinged jaws and flexible skulls (much like that of a snake), which enabled them to gulp down their prey almost whole.
The gruesome, unchewed contents of fossilized mosasaur guts have revealed a varied diet of sea birds, ammonites, smaller marine lizards, possibly shark, and even other mosasaurs. Ammonites were especially crunchy mosasaur treats. They were abundant in the Cretaceous sea, and some Mosasaur had specialized teeth for the job.
Mosasaurs probably lurked for an ambush, rather than hunt, possibly using their powerful tail flukes for extra thrust to dart out and swallow unsuspecting prey. Non-reflective, keeled scales may have been a great advantage to the Mosasaur sneak-
Mosasaurs breathed air and gave birth to live young. The bronchi leading to the lungs run parallel to each other instead of splitting apart from one another as in monitors and other terrestrial reptiles. They were well-adapted to living in the warm, shallow, epicontinental seas of the period.
Although Mosasaurs diversified and proliferated at a spectacular rate, their specialization is considered the source of their demise when marine systems collapsed at the end of the Cretaceous.