15.25" Partial Mosasaur (Eremiasaurus?) Jaw - Morocco

This is an 15.25" fossil jaw section of a mosasaur from the Phosphate Deposits near, Khouribga, Morocco. It is a portion of the mandible (lower jaw) from the right side of the skull. The specimen shows off the foramen, and contains twelve fully visible teeth and a few unerupted teeth. Whether or not these teeth belong to this jaw is up for some debate and we suspect some may have been imbedded for a more aesthetic piece. There are almost a dozen Mosasaurs described from these deposits, but based on the teeth it appears to be from the species, Eremiasaurus heterodontus.

There has been some repair and stabilization work to both the teeth and the jaw with limited gap fill restoration. All in all, it is a very cool specimen that is accompanied by an acrylic base for optimal display.

Mosasaurs are a family of enormous marine reptiles that truly dominated the seas 90 million years ago. They ruled during the last 20-25 million years of the Cretaceous period. With the extinction of the ichthyosaurs and decline of plesiosaurs, mosasaurs diversified to become prolific apex predators in nearly every habitat of the oceanic world.

Artists reconstruction of the mosasaur Prognathodon saturator.
Artists reconstruction of the mosasaur Prognathodon saturator.

Larger mosasaurs were the great leviathans of their time, extending 10–15m, or 33–49ft long. Hainosaurus holds the record for longest mosasaur, at a seemingly impossible 57ft. The smaller genera were still an impressive 10–20ft long. Mosasaurs probably evolved from semi-aquatic scaled reptiles which were more similar in appearance to modern-day monitor lizards. They had double-hinged jaws and flexible skulls (much like that of a snake) which enabled them to gulp down their prey almost whole.

The gruesome unchewed contents of fossilized mosasaur guts have revealed a varied diet of sea birds, ammonites, smaller marine lizards, possibly shark, and even other mosasaurs. Ammonites were especially crunchy mosasaur treats. They were abundant in the Cretaceous sea, and some Mosasaurs had specialized teeth for the job.

Mosasaurs probably lurked for an ambush, rather than hunt, possibly using their powerful tail flukes for extra thrust to dart out and swallow unsuspecting prey. Non-reflective, keeled scales may have been a great advantage to the Mosasaur sneak-attack.

Mosasaurs breathed air and gave birth to live young. The bronchi leading to the lungs run parallel to each other instead of splitting apart from one another as in monitors and other terrestrial reptiles. They were well-adapted to living in the warm, shallow, epicontinental seas of the period.

Although Mosasaurs diversified and proliferated at a spectacular rate, their specialization is considered the source of their demise when marine systems collapsed at the end of the Cretaceous.

Eremiasaurus heterodontus?
Oulad Abdoun Basin, Morocco
Phosphate Deposits
15.25 x 3.4"
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