SOLD Plesiosaur Tooth and Mosasaur Tooth in Matrix - 1.83"
SOLD Plesiosaur Tooth and Mosasaur Tooth in Matrix - 1.83"
Featuring a long, snake-like neck and a stout body equipped with slender paddles, Plesiosaurs are one of the most readily identifiable of all ancient marine reptiles. Another member of the aquatic predator group is the Mosasaur, a dolphin like reptile with long jaws and powerful teeth to catch and swallow prey. These two creatures cohabitated some regions and fought for dominance over food supply in the Cretaceous.
This specimen is a paired fossil of both a Plesiosaur tooth and a Mosasaur tooth embedded in matrix. It was recovered from deposits in Morocco and dates to the Late Cretaceous Period. A paired fossil like this is quite rare and the specimen is one of a kind.
The exposed Plesiosaur tooth measures 1.85". The specimen ships in a sturdy shipping carton. A small information card for both creatures is enclosed that also serves as the certificate of authenticity.
Please Note: All fossil teeth will show signs of repair (typically small cracks repaired with penetrative stabilizers). Some teeth will be reassembled. This is the nature of this item and is completely normal. In some cases, we have opted to vertically orient the specimen in pictures to give a better view of the tooth.
Combined Plesiosaur and Mosasaur Matrix Fossil
This fossil is a one of a kind pair of a Plesiosaur and Mosasaur tooth that were fossilized together on the Cretaceous sea floor. These two marine reptiles competed as predators in the ancient seas and that prehistoric rivally is perfectly encapsulated here.
In all our time studying fossils, this is perhaps one of the most unique and interesting specimens we've had the pleasure of coming across. In this incredible matrix, you can see the long, slender tooth of a plesiosaur above and a strong mosasaur fang below it. Paired fossils like this are quite rare, especially from competing predator species.
It goes without saying, this is a one of a kind item. However, we do have some additional singular plesiosaur and mosasaur teeth available at the collections below!
MORE ABOUT PLESIOSAUR and MOSASAUR
Featuring a long, snake-like neck and a stout body equipped with slender paddles, Plesiosaurs are one of the most readily identifiable of all ancient marine reptiles. Biomechanical reconstructions suggest that Plesiosaurs moved through the water in the same way that turtles or penguins do, more like flying than swimming. Scientists have also discovered that Plesiosaurs used their unique bodies to hunt for bottom-dwelling crustaceans.
With nearly 140 million years in the fossil record, Plesiosaurs were incredibly successful creatures. As air-breathing reptiles, they lived near the surface in the open seas, and were able to spread around the world. Fossilized skeletons of Plesiosaurs have been found in Europe, North America, and Australia. New paleontological evidence suggests that Plesiosaurs may have given birth to live young instead of laying eggs, adding an interesting twist to a very unique family of reptiles.
ABOVE: MARY ANNING'S DRAWING AND LETTER ANNOUNCING THE DISCOVERY OF A FOSSIL WHICH WOULD BECOME KNOWN AS PLESIOSAURUS DOLICHODEIRUS, DECEMBER 26, 1823
PIONEERS IN PALEONTOLOGY
MARY ANNING (1799-1847)
The story of marine reptiles such as the Plesiosaur, not to mention our modern understanding of species extinction, would be incomplete without discussing the contribution of Mary Anning (1799-1847).
Ms. Anning was born to a working-class family in Lyme Regis, a small town on the Dorset coast of southern England. Like many in the area, Anning's family sold fossils recovered from the cliffs, but for Mary, it would become a primary source of revenue, and later a connection to the much wider world of science.
Her most notable finds include the first complete Ichthyosaurus and the first two complete Plesiosaurs (the first of which is also credited to her brother Joseph). She is also credited with being the first to recognize the importance of coprolites and had extensive knowledge of ammonites.
Above: Portrait of Mary Anning by an unknown artist, sometimes referred to as Mr. Grey. In the background is the Golden Cap headland, the highest point on the South Coast of England. Sleeping in the foreground is Tray, Ms. Anning's dog and fossil collecting companion. Tray was trained to sit next to interesting finds while Anning retrieved her equipment from other locations. He perished under a sudden cliff-face collapse in 1833 which nearly took Ms. Anning's life as well.
Yet, despite her firsthand experience and deep knowledge of these subjects, Ms. Anning was unable to take part officially in the scientific societies of the day which were only open to men. Her discoveries and observations were instead shared through others, with the one notable exception being her drawing of a complete Plesiosaur. In this instance, the noted French anatomist Georges Cuvier proclaimed the animal a hoax. It would take numerous examinations and debate before Cuvier would reverse his position and admit he'd rushed to judgement.
Ms. Anning died in 1847 of breast cancer. It would take another 163 years for the Royal Society to recognize her influence in the advancement of science.
If we look first to the sea, the Mesozoic Era might not be known as the Age of Dinosaurs, but rather as the Age of Marine Reptiles. Beginning with the appearance of the dolphin-shaped Ichthyosaurs in the Triassic Period, the rising seas of the Jurassic Period gave way to a wider variety of large predators including the long-necked plesiosaurs and pliosaurs to the powerful Mosasaurs.
Since the first Mosasaur skull was discovered in 1764, our knowledge of this large family of marine reptiles has come primarily from skeletal remains. Mosasaurs ranged in size from 1.1m (3.3ft) to 17.4m (57 ft). Their skulls were flexible and their jaws are double-hinged. While this arrangement probably allowed a Mosasaur to swallow prey whole, the alignment of a Mosasaur's teeth with "bony crypts" to protect emerging teeth also suggests Mosasaurs likely crushed bones as frequently as they tore into flesh.
The Shape of a Predator
Once thought to be almost crocodile-like in appearance or even related directly to snakes, recent studies have revised our understanding of Mosasaurs giving way to a picture of a streamlined predator well-suited to dominating its environment.
While this evidence alone suggests the Mosasaurs were formidable predators, a spectacular new find in Jordan has revealed that Mosasaurs were "countershaded" with darker pigmentation on the top and lighter on the bottom. Similar soft tissue impressions show that Mosasaurs have tail flukes and true flippers. This new information suggests this already formidable predator could swim much faster, a truly terrifying presence backed long history in the fossil record.
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