TBT 9/1/16: Mosasaurus

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You may have seen this underwater creature in the new Jurassic World movie, but did you know this creature actually lived in North Dakota?
 
For this week’s Throwback Thursday Kaitlyn Wurnig takes us back to a time when North Dakota was covered in water.
 
(Kaitlyn Wurnig, KX News) Good Morning I’m here with Becky Barnes at the Heritage Center and it’s Throwback Thursday once again. Today we are talking about a creature that’s been seen in Jurassic World. What are we talking about today?
(Becky Barnes) Today we are talking about a Mosasaurus.
(Wurnig) A mosasaurus. How old is the mosasaurus?
(Barnes) These are about 80 million years old.
(Wurnig) That’s really really old. Well, I’m going to let you take it away because you have got some bones back behind us here and also an extra large sea turtle which is one of my favorites. So go for it Becky.
(Barnes) So these creatures come from rock formations that are about 80 million years old which are the oldest rocks at the surface that we have in the state. Obviously you can get a lot older when you dig deep, but at the surface this is about as old as we get. This particular creature is basically an overgrown marine lizard. So it’s not a dinosaur even though it lived at the same time as dinosaurs.
 
So if you have seen the movie Jurassic World you may have seen a mosasaurus in this movie. He’s kind of a centerpiece. Well that creature is probably about 150 feet long. Massive, massive animal. The creatures behind me not so massive. The ones on the sea floor behind me are maybe only about 20 feet long which is still good size for a reptile and the largest ones could actually get up to about 40 feet long, which is actually the size of a school bus. So again large, but not quite that large.
 
We have part of the skull and neck from the mosasaurus that we have been uncovering for the last two years and inside we have some really cool features. We have an entire lower jaw running through here including a number of teeth sticking out of the edges here. You can actually see an entire tooth right there. We have part of the roof of the mouth, a part of the hinge of the jaw and over here in the neck we have a very interesting spot right here. Now that’s tooth mark from another creature, whether it is a mosasaurus or a large animal we are not sure yet. But that is a massive tooth mark from another predatory animal. 
 
(Wurnig) Well thanks again Becky for joining us here on Good Day Dakota. We learned a little bit more about the mosasaurus today and he’s an awfully big creature in the Jurassic World but not quite as big in real life.  He is one of my favorites. Which one is your favorite?
 
(Becky) I still like triceratops.
 
(Wurnig) Like I said before that’s kind of the go-to animal. Thanks again Becky and we are going to toss it back to you guys in the studio.
 
Becky and her crew have been uncovering the mosasaurus in the Pembina region of the state.
So far they have discovered 115 vertebrae.
 

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