Miners searching for ammolite gems discovered the fossils of an ancient marine predator.
Fossilized remains, found by miners, as paleontologists found out, belonged to an ancient marine reptile – a mosasaur, probably from the genus Tylosaurus, who lived about 70 million years ago, reports LiveScience. At that time, the territory of the Canadian province of Alberta, where the fossils were found (almost complete skeleton), was under water, covered by the Western Inland Sea, which stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean.
The skeleton of the mosasaur was found by Enchanted Designs Limited employees in June while searching for ammolite gemstones. The latter are fossilized fragments of the nacreous layer of the shells of extinct cephalopod ammonite mollusks. Usually, in the place where the skeleton was found, the miners find one or two petrified reptiles a year, so in principle the find is not completely unexpected; however, the finding of practically a whole skeleton, as in this case, is, of course, a rarity.
Found mosasaur, as noted, reached a length of about six to seven meters. Mosasaurs were predators, mostly of medium or large size; they could eat turtles, fish, ammonites and even other mosasaurs (on the bones of mosasaurs, including large ones, they found traces from the teeth of other members of the family). Mosasaurs disappeared, as scientists believe, along with dinosaurs and pterosaurs as a result of a mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 million years ago.