American paleontologists have discovered a fossil of a mosasaur with a tooth embedded in its face, the remains of an attack.
Blue Dragon – a predator that dominated the seas in the Cretaceous period
Mosasauridae, is a large extinct family of sea lizards. The first fossils were discovered in a limestone quarry at Maastricht, Meuse in 1764. Mosasauridae are now considered the most closely related family. with snakes, because the cluster analysis was based on similarity in jaw and skull features.
Mosasauridae are Varanoidea closely related to terrestrial iguanas. They may have evolved from semi-aquatic scaly reptiles called Aigialosaurs, which were more similar in appearance than present-day iguanas, during the Early Cretaceous. During the last 20 million years of the Cretaceous (Tours-Maastricht), with the extinction of the Ichthyosaur and Pliosaurs, cycads were the dominant marine predators.
Fossils of spear dragons have been found.
Fossils of the spear dragon, a dolphin-like marine reptile that lived in the time of the dinosaurs, was found with an enemy’s tooth embedded in its face.
“The specimen shows direct and unequivocal evidence of a non-fatal bite among spear dragons,” Takuya Konishi, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, reported at the 76th annual meeting. of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
A mining company discovered a 6.4 m long lanceolate specimen in southern Alberta, Canada in 2012 and notified the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. Museum researchers spent two years cleaning up the fossil. During that time, the specimen’s unique physical features became apparent. It had another spear dragon’s tooth embedded in its lower jaw. We were all amazed and started studying it,” said Konishi.
The 74.8-million-year-old kangaroo fossil is fully articulated, meaning all its bones are preserved where anatomical analysis and computerized tomography were found indicating the animal belonged to the species Mosasaurusgenus, Konishi. said.
Traces of the attack, including three injuries and a residual tooth, were clearly visible on the left half of the animal’s face. All three wounds showed signs of bone regeneration, indicating that the spear dragon survived the attack and recovered before it died.
Two spear dragons can fight for the right to pair.
However, there were two species of jaguar living in the area where the specimen was found, and it was not clear at first to which species the tooth belonged. Prognathodon dragons have strong teeth that can chew turtle shells, making it difficult for them to break their teeth while attacking another, Konishi speculates.
In contrast, the Mosasaurus lance is more likely to cause an attack because it has long, sharp teeth that break easily. The team found no evidence of bites on the other half of the face, suggesting the perpetrator attacked the animal from below.
According to Konishi, the war between the two spear dragons may have been caused by a competition for the right to mate. The spear dragon is related to the scaly lizard. Although the jaguar is extinct, its distant relative is the gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) known for its fights over offspring. Male gila monsters often bite below the opponent’s throat to prevent the enemy from biting back.
“It is possible that the lance that left the tooth on the specimen used a similar tactic with a bite force from one side of the jaw, strong enough to defeat the enemy but not kill it,” concluded Konishi.