Two, Large, Rare Rooted Mosasaur (Prognathodon currii) Teeth

This is a killer piece, featuring a pair of natural (not composited), rooted Mosasaur (Prognathodon currii) teeth collected from the phosphate deposits in the Oulad Abdoun Basin of Morocco. Teeth of Prognathodon currii are quite rare and much blunter than the more common species of Prognathodon found in the area. Out of the thousands and thousands of fossil Mosasaur teeth that have passed through my hands, I've only had a few from this species.

This piece was prepared here in the US, and the preparation is fantastic. The teeth are brought out in nice relief against the surrounding rock which is full of numerous fossil fish vertebrae. As mentioned about the roots are natural and the only repair/restoration work is some color matching where enamel flaked off of the crown on one tooth. The larger tooth is 5.7", the smaller 2.9" and the entire piece is 8.7 x 6.8". Comes with a display stand.

It comes from the massive phosphate deposits in the Oulad Abdoun Basin near Khouribga, Morocco. These deposits are mined for phosphate, one of Morocco's biggest exports. The fossils are collected as a byproduct of the mining operations, saving them from certain destruction by the 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.
Prognathodon currii
Oulad Abdoun Basin, Morocco
Phosphate Deposits
Larger tooth 5.7", Rock 8.7x6.8"
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