Answer Monday!

Last week on Fossil Friday, my expectations were high. I gave you a single tooth and expected you to determine the entire animal once attached to it!

And you were all champs. Every commenter (except for Mr. Sloth man), got it right, correctly identifying the tooth as belonging to a mosasaur, a group of large extinct marine reptiles. 

From Oceans of Kansas:

"First and most importantly, mosasaurs are not dinosaurs. They are extinct marine reptiles that are believed to be distantly related to monitor lizards such as the Komodo Dragon.  Based on recent evidence, however, it may be that they were even more closely related to snakes than monitor lizards...

"Mosasaurs  preyed on smaller individuals of other species, including ammonites, fish, birds and even smaller mosasaurs. One genus, called Tylosaurus,  reached lengths of 30 to 40 feet in the Western Interior Sea during the deposition of the chalk...Fortunately for humankind, the mosasaurs also became extinct along with the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period. They are not something you would want to share your oceans with."

And as promised, here is the video link for the Discovery Channel's video short on a mosasaur rampage. I didn't learn anything from it, but it's still kind of cool to watch.

Thanks to those who participated this week! Stay tuned for another tooth or branch or femur coming this Friday!


Minda Berbeco
Short Bio

Minda Berbeco is the former Programs and Policy Director at NCSE.

We can't afford to lose any time when it comes to the future of science education.

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