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Giant sea lizards (Mosasaur species)

  • Published
    27th Sep, 2023

Recently, a team of palaeontologists studying marine reptiles from the latest Cretaceous of North Africa has found that mosasaur species (Marine reptiles), who were the top predators in the marine ecosystems, can tell us many about evolution of marine ecosystem.

About the findings:
  • Recent discoveries unveiled new mosasaur species with unique adaptations, like Pluridens serpentis and Xenodens, suggests about their specialized diets.
  • The most recent discovery, Stelladens, exhibited tooth structures never seen before in mosasaurs, leaving scientists puzzled about its dietary preferences.
  • The diversity of large marine reptiles called mosasaurs, which were at the top of the prehistoric ocean food chain.

Outcomes drawn:

  • During the late Cretaceous period, rising sea levels submerged parts of Africa, creating the Tethys Sea and extending the Atlantic.
  • High sea levels and nutrient-rich upwelling along the eastern Atlantic supported a diverse marine ecosystem, including
  • Contrary to decline, mosasaurs thrived with various body sizes and tooth shapes, evolving to become formidable predators.
  • It suggests that the marine ecosystem they were a part of was healthy and stable in the million years leading up to the end of the Cretaceous period.
  • This supports the idea that the mass extinction event that ended the Cretaceous period, possibly caused by an asteroid impact, was a sudden and catastrophic event, rather than a gradual decline.
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