85 million-year-old fossil finally identified as a baby Tylosaurus mosasaurs

Mail Online | 10/15/2018 | Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline
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An 85 million-year-old marine reptile that roamed the world's oceans during the time of the dinosaurs behaved similarly and shared physical traits with killer whales.

That's the finding of a study that examined Tylosaurus mosasaurs, which grew up to 50 feet (15 metres) in length.

Creature - Hit - Movie - Jurassic - World

The enormous creature, featured in the hit movie Jurassic World, were at the top of the prehistoric food chain and had no natural enemies, due to its intimidating size and fearsome appetite.

Scientists studying small pieces of a fossil first found in 1991 in Kansas now believe it to be a baby T mosasaur that perished shortly after birth.

Analysis - Bone - Fragments - Snout - Skull

Analysis of the bone fragments from the snout, skull and upper jaw led experts to conclude that these extinct predators behaved similarly to modern-day Orcas.

A bony protrusion shared by both species let them subdue their prey by ramming them with snouts.

Scientists - Answer - Fossil - Identity - Years

Scientists have been unable to provide a definitive answer to the fossil's identity despite it being first spotted more than 25 years ago.

Paleontologists knew the specimen belonged to the mosasaur family, a group of large marine reptiles, but couldn't determine which.

Specimen - Mosasaur - Platecarpus - Species - Area

The specimen was initially identified as a mosasaur called Platecarpus, a species commonly found in that area during the same period 85 million years ago.

Mosasauridae is a group of animals which features more than 30 genera of species, so identifying a particular specimen from a handful of fossil fragments can be daunting.

Researchers - University - Cincinnati - Decades - Analysis

Researchers from the University in Cincinnati have no discovered after decades of careful analysis that the bones represent an infant Tylosaurus mosasaur.

The fossil's structure and the absence of the species's trademark snout made identification difficult and confused the investigating academics.

Specimen - Time - Years - Box - Realize

'Having looked at the specimen in 2004 for the first time myself, it too took me nearly 10 years to think out of that box and realize...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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