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ziggycardon

Hi everyone,

With this thread I wanted to start a discussion about what the feeding habits would be for most mosasaur species, how you think they would have fed.

I personally love mosasaurs, they are one of my favorite prehistoric animals for a number of reasons and I’ve recently even bought my first Prognathodon jaw and I also live in an area that is not only known for their fossils but also for the discovery of mosasaurs.

 

I’ve been doing a bit of reading lately about mosasaurs but I can’t really find anything difinitive on their feeding habits. 
Their diet yes.

But exactly how they consumed their prey, not yet.

 

I personally work with reptiles on a daily base, both with my job and with my hobby and I know quite a bit of different feeding behaviours with these animals.
And as I was feeding the ball pythons (Python regius) at work I was kinda wondering, how would a large marine reptile like a mosasaurus eat?

 

Would they just tear off chunks of meat like their closest living relatives the monitor lizards?

 

Or would they perform deathroll like crocodiles do to tear of chunks of meat of their prey?

 

Or when we talk about smaller prey, would they just swallow them whole like a snake does with it’s two lower jaws that can move independently, would a mosasaur be capable of that?

 

Or would it be a mix of all those things or something entirely different?

 

So I was just wondering what are your thoughts on the subject?

I love to hear your theories and own finds and observations or if anyone ever read something in a scientific paper about the matter.

I am dying to know your thoughts on the matter, as I want to learn as much as I can about these magnificent beasts!

 

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gigantoraptor

Mosasaurs are a very varied group of animals, with a lot of niches and different diets. I don't think there is only one answer to your question.

 

Some, like Carinodens en Igdamanosaurus, crushed hard-shelled animals with their blunt teeth to get to the soft body inside the shell.  

Others hunted bigger and faster prey. There are specimens known with stomach content that included sharks, birds, fishes and other mosasaurs. There is a specimen on the oceans of kansas site where there are still bones preserved in the stomach. They are pretty big, so I think Tylosaurus (the specimen) swallowed their prey whole or at least big parts of it.

 

Hope this helps, there are a few papers on this subject but they are not free. Maybe with a bit of luck someone here has them.

 

I like mosasaurs too, do you have any mosasaur fossils from the Benelux?

 

 

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ziggycardon

 

14 minutes ago, gigantoraptor said:

Mosasaurs are a very varied group of animals, with a lot of niches and different diets. I don't think there is only one answer to your question.

 

Some, like Carinodens en Igdamanosaurus, crushed hard-shelled animals with their blunt teeth to get to the soft body inside the shell.  

Others hunted bigger and faster prey. There are specimens known with stomach content that included sharks, birds, fishes and other mosasaurs. There is a specimen on the oceans of kansas site where there are still bones preserved in the stomach.

 

Thanks! 

Yes I suspected it not to be an easy one-dimensional answer, that's why I want to hear different views on the subject.
I know about Carinodens en Igdamanosaurus being more specialised as shell crushing species while other species are more apex predators that hunted everything that moved including other mosasaurs.

It just fascinates me has to how they would have eaten, the behaviour of these long gone animals and how they might compare to living animals in that way. 

 

15 minutes ago, gigantoraptor said:

They are pretty big, so I think Tylosaurus (the specimen) swallowed their prey whole or at least big parts of it.

 

And yes! These is really the things I was wondering when I was feeding the pythons. 
Could a mosasaur swallow its prey whole.
I was thinking to my self "They have a jaw that isn't connected at the chin, so it might be able to move it independently as well. Not to mention the throat teeh that might help pull down a large slippery prey in the water like the inward curved teeth of pythons do"
So yes, thank you, those were indeed the things I was wondering about.
 

25 minutes ago, gigantoraptor said:

Hope this helps, there are a few papers on this subject but they are not free. Maybe with a bit of luck someone here has them.

 

I like mosasaurs too, do you have any mosasaur fossils from the Benelux?

 

yeah, I hope to hear indeed more, both scientifically proven, as what members might have discovered and learned themself over the years during digs and reading, or any theories anyone might have of their own.
 

And no unfortunally not... Yet.
Hope to go on a hunt myself in the near future, probably start in some limestone deposits 3 km away from my house where I know some 70 million year old urchins in my collection where found. The rock is the same layer and age as those in Maastricht where mosasaur remains where found, so who knows.
Might also send a email to my old geology teacher, I know he has a great interest in the geology of our region so he might help me out and point me to a few interesting place. 
And eventually I hope to go on a hunt with maybe a paleo group in the ENCI quarry or similar places where mosasaur remains where found.
I know the chances of finding mosasaurus material is very rare here, but I think everyone who goes on a hunt there secretly dreams of it.
So who knows, you only have to get lucky once! :)

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The Amateur Paleontologist
1 hour ago, ziggycardon said:

I know the chances of finding mosasaurus material is very rare here

Trust me, BeNeLux mosasaurs are definitely not as rare as in good ol' Denmark.. At the site I'm workin on (Maastrichtian chalk site), the only mosasaur remains that have been found are 4 teeth ;)

-Christian

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jpc

"Could a mosasaur swallow its prey whole.
I was thinking to my self "They have a jaw that isn't connected at the chin, so it might be able to move it independently as well. Not to mention the throat teeh that might help pull down a large slippery prey in the water like the inward curved teeth of pythons do"
So yes, thank you, those were indeed the things I was wondering about."

 

If you do a Google Scholar search on mosasaur feeding you might find some info, but I think these ideas are correct.  

 

I think ENCI is as good a place to find mosasaur bones as anywhere in Europe.  

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Macrophyseter

Here's some articles that could be useful. I got to go to work in five minutes so I don't have time to shoot you a PM right now. I'll shoot you the articles when I come home.

 

(Calliston, 1967) INTRACRANIAL MOBILITY IN KANSAS MOSASAURS

https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/3754/paleo.paper.026.pdf;sequence=1

 

(Schulp, 2004) Feeding the Mechanical Mosasaur: what did Carinodens eat?

PM for article

 

(Lee et. al., 1999) The origin of snake feeding

PM for article

 

(Luan et. al., 2009) The mosasaur tooth attachment apparatus as paradigm for the evolution of the gnathostome periodontium

PM for article

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ziggycardon

Thank you all very much for the replies! 
I see I have got some homework ;) 
But really thanks for all the links to articles and papers! Will definiatly read them, and I hope to learn more about these animals. 
Will probably use some of the information given to me to the info sheets that I will display along side my prognathodon jaw and other mosasaur fossils in the upcoming fossil room. 
The anwers thus far have been really great, thanks too all! 

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