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Missing fossil link 'Dallasaurus' found

le to simulate what Dallasaurus looked like, and how, based on his skeletal remains, he would swim and move from land to sea. An artist has taken Polcyn's visualization work even one step further by creating a life-sized model of Dallasaurus, a work that is soon to be on display at the Museum along with the computer simulation.

When funds become available for reconstructing a suitable exhibit, the bones of Dallasaurus will be displayed at the Dallas Museum of Natural History. The work, however, will take several more years of additional efforts and substantial funding. A nearly 30-foot long mosasaur, some 75 million years old, already is on display at the Dallas Museum.

Major dinosaur finds are frequently the result of creatures dying in groups through flooding or drought, situations that lend themselves fairly well to more complete preservation and conservation of their bones, and much slower deterioration. Mosasaur fossils, in contrast, are rarely found in large groupings, and are only found in areas once covered by seas. Remains were quick to deteriorate under ocean currents; their bodies often fell victim to the ravages of other sea life, such as sharks, who would pick away at carcasses for food. Because of their mostly shallow sea and seaside habitats, the remains of early mosasaurs are even more rare and much harder to find.

But in the last two decades, many new discoveries and significant advances have been made in the understanding of mosasaur evolution and how they lived. Dallasaurus significantly advances that understanding by filling in a long missing piece of mosasaur evolution, specifically a time at which they transition from land to sea.

The importance of Turner's discovery isn't lost on the researchers putting together the pieces of the mosasaur puzzle. In fact, they predict the legacy of Turner's discovery will live on. His contribution was honored by naming the species, "turneri," after his last name. "Not all maj
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Source:Southern Methodist University


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