4.7" Mosasaur (Platecarpus) Vertebra Process - Kansas

This is a 4.7" long, vertebra process of a Mosasaur (Platecarpus) from the Late Cretaceous, Smoky Hill Chalk, Gove County, Kansas. This is likely a section of transverse process. It has one repaired crack.

Platecarpus is an extinct aquatic lizard belonging to the mosasaur family. Fossils have been found in the United States as well as a possible specimen in Belgium and Africa. It reached lengths of up to 14 feet long, half of that length being its tail. Platecarpus probably fed on fish, squid, and ammonites. Like other mosasaurs, it was initially thought to have swam in an eel-like fashion, although a recent study suggests that it swam more like modern sharks.

The Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Chalk formation is a Cretaceous conservation Lagerstätte, or fossil-rich geological formation, known primarily for its exceptionally well-preserved marine reptiles. It outcrops in parts of northwest Kansas--its most famous localities for fossils--and in southeastern Nebraska. Large, well-known fossils excavated from the Smoky Hill Chalk include marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs, large bony fish such as Xiphactinus, mosasaurs, pterosaurs, and turtles.
Platecarpus coryphaeus
Gove County, Kansas
Niobrara Formation
4.7" long, 1.2" wide
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