North Africa, Morocco, late Cretaceous, ca. 101 to 66 million years ago. A truly massive fossilized skull of a mosasaur, a massive extinct reptile from the age of the dinosaurs. In the last 20 million years of the Cretaceous, they were the dominant predators of the ancient seas. Here you can see the focus of the skull - the powerful double-hinged jaw with its multiple sets of teeth. Similar to snakes, they could gulp down their prey nearly whole due to their flexible skulls. Indeed, a fossil of a mosasaur found in South Dakota included the complete remains of multiple animals, including a smaller mosasaur! Mosasaur fossils have also been found with sharks' teeth embedded in them. The creature who owned this skull would have stayed in shallow seas, hunting for prey and surfacing to breathe. Luckily for humans, we can now observe the sharp, ridged teeth of these fierce predators in their fossilized form! Size: 39" L x 11" W x 10.5" H (99.1 cm x 27.9 cm x 26.7 cm)
Provenance: private Ohio, USA collection, acquired before January 2019; ex-private Virginia, USA collection, acquired in Morocco
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Expertly repaired and restored from multiple pieces by Ray Vodden of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Approximately 80% original material with some small losses from the peripheries.