Fossilized Bones of World’s First Freshwater Mosasaur Unearthed
Fossilized bones of a new species, mosasaurs, have been discovered in Hungary, according to a new study.
These fossilized bones belong to the mosasaurs species, which were earlier thought to be marine animals, The new findings prove that these 84 million years old sea monsters also dwelt in fresh waters.
These reptiles existed during the same period as the dinosaurs and were termed as the T.Rex of the sea.
According to Phys.org, the study highlights the fact that these are the first freshwater mosasaurs found.
The first fossils remains of this large specimen were found in Maastricht in 1764.
The new fossils that were recovered from an open pit in the Bakony Hills of Western Hungary ranged from small infantile to large adults. The fossils have certain unique traits not common to the mosasaur family. The fossils suggest that the species had limbs that were similar to the terrestrial lizard, a flattened skull that looked like that of a crocodile, and a tail.
This study was conducted by Laszlo Makadi of the Hungarian Natural History Museum along with colleagues from the University of Alberta in Canada.
Michael Caldwell, an expert in mosasaurs and the co-author of the study, states in an interview to the Vancouvar Sun that fossil examinations clearly indicate that they are different from the rest of the mosasaur spices. He calls them Pannoniasaurus. He says that they are much bigger than T. Rex and unlike previous belief, they don't share a common ancestor.
"Mosasaurness is really about the skull and about habits, as opposed to everything but the head being focused on swimming adaptations," Vancouver Sun quotes Caldwell as saying.
Phys.Org quotes Makadi, "The evidence we provide here makes it clear that similar to some lineages of cetaceans, mosasaurs quickly adapted to a variety of aquatic environments, with some groups re- invading available niches in freshwater habitats. The size of Pannoniasaurus makes it the largest known predator in the waters of this paleo-environment"
The details of the fossilized bones were published in the journal PLoS ONE.