2.5" Rooted Mosasaur Tooth - Morocco

This is a rooted tooth of the Mosasaur, from the Upper Cretaceous phosphate deposits in the Oulad Abdoun Basin of Morocco. Real rooted Mosasaur teeth are not common finds, and nearly all of the "rooted" teeth you see for sale have fake roots. The tooth is 2.5" long with the crown being 1". There is one repaired crack in the tooth.

There are a number of different types of Mosasaurs in these deposits and the teeth shape varies significantly with the position in the jaw. Many of the defining characteristics will overlap between species depending on jaw position. So, it's tough if not impossible to put a definitive ID on many isolated teeth, but this one is likely to be Eremiasaurus.

These teeth are collected as a byproduct of the massive phosphate mining operations near Khouribga. The locals collected the teeth and other fossils saving them from certain destruction by rock crusher.

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.
DETAILS
SPECIES
Eremiasaurus heterodontus
LOCATION
Oulad Abdoun Basin, Morocco
FORMATION
Phosphate Deposits
SIZE
2.5" long
ITEM
#38180
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