You know that intense scene in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, where the guy is clinging to the ladder under the helicopter? They fly away, barely escaping a T-Rex, just to be then eaten by the mighty Mosasaurus? You heave a sigh of relief, just get it snatched from you mid-breath. Well, although it’s a really cool scene, and even more cool that the Mosasaurus is finally getting some attention in pop culture, they don’t have all the facts quite right.
Mosasurus was not as big as Jurassic World would like us to think. They were actually not much bigger than Tyrannosaurus Rex! The largest discovered specimen had a length of up to 17 metres. The largest blue whales today are around 30 metres long, so the Mosasaurus wasn’t even the largest sea creature the earth has known.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a terrifying creature! Mosasaurus had double-hinged jaws that would allow it to swallow its prey whole. It also had a second row of teeth on the top of its mouth, used to keep a strong hold of its meal. This apex predator from the Late Cretaceous period had a skull that was designed for crushing and they would make easy meals of other sea dwellers, such as fish, sharks and even other Mosasaurs.
Technically Mosasaurus isn’t a dinosaur; they were prehistoric marine reptiles similar to modern-day lizards and snakes rather than dinosaurs, but for dinosaur lovers like me, that’s just semantics! The name Mosasaur was given to this mighty aquatic beast because it was first found in Holland, by the Meuse River, “Mosa”, and “Sauros” is Greek for “Lizard”. Mosasaurus was one of the very first dinosaurs ever discovered, way back in the 1700’s, however back then they didn’t know what dinosaurs were, and thought it was a whale. It wasn’t until the 1820’s when Georges Cuvier examined it, that scientists realised that extinct species had lived on the earth before us.
It’s super cool to see different dinosaurs represented in movies and pop culture, even if they aren’t exactly accurate. To be fair, what we actually know about each dino often changes with each new discovery, so who knows? Maybe one day we will find larger fossils of Mosasaurus! Regardless, this massive sea monster is one of my favourite dinosaurs, even if it’s just a little bit scary!
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