Navigation Links
Mosasaur fossil at Natural History Museum of L.A. County re-explores 85-million-year-old sea monster
Date:8/10/2010

One of the ocean's most formidable marine predators, the marine mosasaur Platecarpus, lived in the Cretaceous Period some 85 million years ago and was thought to have swum like an eel. That theory is debunked in a new paper published today in the journal PLoS ONE. An international team of scientists have reconceived the animal's morphology, or body plan, based on a spectacular specimen housed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The paper was co-authored by a team of four scientists: 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.

The mosasaur specimen was discovered in Kansas in 1969, and acquired by the NHM shortly thereafter. It contains four slabs, which make up a virtually complete, 20-foot specimen. Dr. Chiappe spurred a modern preparation of the specimen, and assembled the paper's research team. "It is one of several exceptional fossils that will be featured in Dinosaur Mysteries," said Chiappe, curator of the 15,000-square foot landmark exhibition that opens at the museum in 2011.

In the meantime, the fossil will be temporarily on display at the museum's Dino Lab, a working lab located on the second floor of the museum, where paleontologists prepare fossils in full view of the public.

The specimen is "the finest preserved mosasaur in existence," according to Dr. Johan Lindgren, lead author of the published study. It retains traces of a partial body outline, putative skin color markings, external scales, a downturned tail, branching bronchial tubes, and stomach contents (fish).

Using it, the scientists demonstrate that a streamlined body plan and crescent-shaped tail fin were already well established in Platecarpus, and that these key features evolved very early in the evolution of mosasaurs. 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.

The findings underscore how these adaptations for fully aquatic existence evolved rapidly and convergently in several groups of Mesozoic marine reptiles, as well as in extant whales. "This fossil shows evolution in action, how a successful design was developed time after time by different groups of organisms adapting to life in similar environments," said Chiappe. "It highlights once again the potential for new discoveries to challenge well-established interpretations about dinosaurs and other animals that lived with them."

"From this beautifully preserved specimen it seems that advanced, shark like swimming began in mosasaurs millions of years earlier than we previously thought," said Dr. Kevin Padian, a paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley, not involved in the paper. "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."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kristin Friedrich
kfriedri@nhm.org
213-763-3532
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Fossil find puts a face on early primates
2. Wallabies and bats harbor fossil genes from the most deadly family of human viruses
3. Green and fair economic growth with more expensive fossil fuels
4. Fossil-fuel use and feeding world cause greatest environmental impacts: UNEP panel
5. Reducing fossil energy use on the farm
6. First studies of fossil of new human ancestor take place at the European Synchrotron
7. Human fossil discovery -- evidence of new Homo species
8. Ecologists receive mixed news from fossil record
9. A new fossil species found in Spain
10. Can the morphology of fossil leaves tell us how early flowering plants grew?
11. Rare body parts find provides vital clues to identity of ancient fossil
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Mosasaur fossil at Natural History Museum of L.A. County re-explores 85-million-year-old sea monster
(Date:4/17/2017)... Florida , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, ... technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on ... and Exchange Commission. ... on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of ... as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... their offering. ... tracking market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the ... 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with ... its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science ... a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the ... the first application of deep learning to create predictive ... lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. The ... and future publicly available resources created and shared by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Sciences today announced the three Winners and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik ... annually by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... partners with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality ... Several trends in analytical testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but most personal eye wash can ... a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, and likely quicker response time ... , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or alkali, getting anything in your ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... the Netherlands and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. ... The Institute of Cancer Research, London ... use MMprofiler™ with SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients ... trial known as MUK nine . The University of ... trial, which is partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR ...
Breaking Biology Technology: