85mn-year-old fossil of marine predator Mosasaur reveals new secrets

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Washington, Aug 11 (ANI): Mosasaur Platecarpus, one of the most formidable marine predators, lived some 85 million years ago and was thought to have swum like an eel - a theory that has been debunked by latest research.

Johan Lindgren (Lund University, Lund, Sweden), Michael W. Caldwell, Takuya Konishi (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), and Luis M. Chiappe, Director of the Natural History Museum's Dinosaur Institute conducted the study.

The mosasaur specimen discovered in 1969, contains four slabs, which make up a virtually complete, 20-foot specimen.

"It is one of several exceptional fossils that will be featured in Dinosaur Mysteries," said Chiappe.

It retains traces of a partial body outline, putative skin color markings, external scales, a downturned tail, branching bronchial tubes, and stomach contents (fish).

Noting the highly specialized tail fin, the new study assert that mosasaurs were better swimmers than previously thought - and that they swam more like sharks than eels.

"This study is the best possible proof that active research by curators and staff is the most essential component of a museum dedicated to educating the public," said Dr. Kevin Padian, a paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley,

The study has been published today in the journal PLoS ONE. (ANI)

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