New study reveals how reptiles divided up the spoils in ancient seas — ScienceDaily

While dinosaurs ruled the land in the Mesozoic, the oceans were filled by predators such as crocodiles and giant lizards, but also entirely extinct groups such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

Now for the first time, researchers at the University of Bristol have modelled the changing ecologies of these great sea dragons.

Mesozoic oceans were unique in hosting diverse groups of fossil reptiles, many of them over 10 metres long.

These toothy monsters fed on a variety of fishes, molluscs, and even on each other. Yet most had disappeared by the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago, when the dinosaurs also died out. There are still some marine crocodiles, snakes and turtles today, but sharks, seals, and whales took over these ecological roles.

In a new study, completed when she was studying for the MSc in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, Jane Reeves, now

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Reptile dubbed ‘Jaws of Death’ terrorized Cretaceous seas

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Roughly 80 million years ago in the shallow inland sea that once split North America into eastern and western land masses, a fearsome 33-foot-long (10-meter-long) marine reptile with powerful jaws and tremendous bite-force was one of the apex predators.

A type of seagoing lizard called a mosasaur that ruled the oceans at the same time dinosaurs dominated the land, it has now been given a name meaning “Jaws of Death.”

A new analysis published on Wednesday of fossils of the creature unearthed in 1975 has determined that it deserves to be recognized as a new genus of mosasaur based on skeletal traits including a unique combination of features in the tooth-bearing bones and the shape of an important bone in the jaw joint.

Its remains were discovered near Cedaredge, Colorado.

This Cretaceous Period creature previously had been classified as the species Prognathodon stadtmani. Because

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Gnathomortis stadtmani, a giant lizard dubbed ‘Jaws of Death,’ terrorized Cretaceous seas

A type of seagoing lizard called a mosasaur that ruled the oceans at the same time dinosaurs dominated the land, it has now been given a name meaning “Jaws of Death.”

A new analysis published on Wednesday of fossils of the creature unearthed in 1975 has determined that it deserves to be recognized as a new genus of mosasaur based on skeletal traits including a unique combination of features in the tooth-bearing bones and the shape of an important bone in the jaw joint.

Its remains were discovered near Cedaredge, Colorado.

This Cretaceous Period creature previously had been classified as the species Prognathodon stadtmani. Because of its differences from other species of Prognathodon, Joshua Lively, curator of paleontology at the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum, gave it the new scientific name Gnathomortis stadtmani.

Gnathomortis is derived from the Greek and Latin words for “Jaws of Death.”

After other marine

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