The newborn Tylosaurus bones are so little that they fit on an individual’s hand. Here, you can see (from delegated right) the partial snout with teeth and tooth bases, the partial braincase, and an area of the upper jaw with tooth bases.
Credit: Christina Byrd, paleontology collections supervisor at the Sternberg Museum of Nature in Hays, Kansas
About 85 million years earlier, when a large sea covered Kansas, a wee, little sea beast passed away nearly right away after it was born.
In spite of its brief life, this newborn, which head to tail, was as long as André the Giant was high (well, it was small compared to its moms and dads) is making waves today; a brand-new analysis of its fossils exposes that it’s the tiniest Tylosaurus— a kind of mosasaur, a terrifying marine reptile that lived throughout the dinosaur age– on record.
However it took years and precise investigator work for scientists to determine this animal as a Tylosaurus Paleontologists made the ID by taking a look at small damaged pieces of the animal’s snout, braincase and upper jaw, the only fossils of the animal they might discover, a brand-new research study reports. [T-Rex of the Seas: A Mosasaur Gallery]
When the small leviathan’s remains were discovered in the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of western Kansas, in 1991, scientists believed it was a Platecarpus This medium-size genus of mosasaur had a brief, rounded snout and might grow to nearly 20 feet (6 meters) long.
However the brand-new analysis exposed that the remains came from a much bigger genus: Tylosaurus, stated research study lead scientist Takuya Konishi, an assistant professor-educator in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. This beast of a mosasaur might mature to 42 feet (13 m) in length, or almost as long as a semitrailer.