.54" Champsosaurus Vertebrae (Cretaceous Reptile)

Here's a tiny and nicely preserved vertebrae from the Cretaceous aged reptile Champsosaurus laramiensis. It was collected in the Hell Creek formation, the same formation that is famous for producing fossils of T-Rex.

Reconstruction by Nobu Tamura
Reconstruction by Nobu Tamura
is an extinct genus of diapsid reptile belonging to the order Choristodera. It grew to about 1.50 m (5 ft) long, though C. gigas, the largest species, reached 3-3.5 m (10–12 ft) in length. Champsosaurus resembled a gharial and, like gharials, hunted in rivers and swamps, catching fish with its long, tooth-lined jaws. It probably swam with lateral body movements, pinning its limbs against its body to increase its streamline, just like crocodiles and the Marine Iguana. Behind the eyes Champsosaurus's skull was very wide as powerful jaw muscles were attached here.
Champsosaurus laramiensis
Corson County, South Dakota
Hell Creek Formation
.54" wide
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