Mosasaurus fossil discovered in Morocco, with ‘screwdriver teeth’ never before seen

Mosasaurus fossil discovered in Morocco, with 'screwdriver teeth' never before seen

May 21, 2023 – 8:00 PM – Morocco

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A team of British researchers has discovered a new species of mosasaur in Morocco, a giant marine lizard from the age of the dinosaurs, famous for its unique star-shaped teeth.

Stelladens mysteryiosus. That’s the name of a new species of mosasaur, a dinosaur-era marine lizard with bizarre, feathered teeth unlike any other known reptile, the University of Bath reports. This species originated in Morocco in the late Cretaceous period (about 145 to 66 million years ago) and was twice the size of a dolphin. It had a unique arrangement of teeth, with protrusions along the teeth in a star shape, reminiscent of a cross-shaped screwdriver, according to informed daily.

Also read: ‘Neural’ ancestor of ancient saltwater crocodiles discovered in Morocco

The principal investigator, Dr. Nick Longerich, paleontologist at the University of Bath’s Milner Center for Evolution. It doesn’t look like a mosasaur, reptile, or any other vertebrate we’ve seen before. “I’ve been working on Mosasaurs in Morocco for over 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it before. I was amazed and delighted,” says Dr. Nathalie Bardi, a marine reptile specialist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

These and other recent discoveries from Africa indicate that marine reptiles and other marine reptiles evolved rapidly until about 66 million years ago, when they became extinct after an asteroid impact that also wiped out the dinosaurs and about 90% of all species on Earth.

Read also: The discovery of an important fossil site in Morocco

“The animals have produced an incredible number of surprises: a mosasaur with teeth arranged like a saw, a turtle with a snorkel, many vertebrates of different shapes and sizes, and now a mosasaur with teeth in the shape of a star.” Stelladens’ discovery shows that even after years of searching for fossils from Morocco, the region is still rich in new species waiting to be discovered. “The sites in Morocco offer an unparalleled picture of the amazing biodiversity before the Great Crisis at the end of the Cretaceous,” said Noureddine Jalil, a professor at the National Museum of Natural History and researcher at Cadi Ayyad University. Morocco.

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