17.5" Prognathodon Mosasaur Fossil Jaw Teeth Cretaceous Dinosaur Era COA, Stand
Location: Oued Zem, Morocco
Weight: 11 Pounds 5.6 Ounces
Dimensions: 17.5 Inches Long, 8.5 Inches Wide, 2.9 Inches Thick (Matrix)
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Comes with a free stand.
The item pictured is the one you will receive.
This is a genuine Fossil.
100 - 66 Million Years old, Upper Cretaceous, Maastrichtian Epoch.
Name: Prognathodon (Forejaw tooth).
Named By: Dollo - 1889.
Size: Depending upon the species, Prognathodon could range between 6 to possibly just under 14 meters in length.
Known locations: Fossil locations suggest a worldwide distribution, but especially well- known from Europe and North America.
Time period: Campanian to Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Prognathodon was a late Mosasaur that showed a trend towards a different kind of predation that saw it living like the much earlier basal placodont reptiles of the Triassic such as Placodus. This means that Prognathodon specialized in eating tough shelled prey items like shellfish, ammonites, and turtles. The diet of Prognathodon was for a long time just speculation based upon the teeth and jaw construction, but two discoveries in Canada in the early years of the twenty-first century not only revealed the full body shape of Prognathodon but the diet as well. One specimen revealed the presence of turtle and ammonite fossils located where its stomach would have been. Interestingly it also had a one-hundred and sixty centimeters long fish in its gut, suggesting that while Prognathodon was a specialized predator, it was also opportunistic in its feeding.
Prognathodon had a robust and heavy jaw that would have been capable of withstanding a high bite force supplied by powerful jaw muscles. However, it’s the teeth that should receive special note as not only are they strong and well adapted for crushing, they have serrations which can be seen under much more detailed inspection. This makes the teeth specialized for a dual purpose, destroying the protective shells of prey while shearing the flesh within. Another specialization is the presence of bony rings around the eye sockets. This is seen as a deep water adaptation for the eyes to better withstand the higher water pressure of deep water, something which may have often been necessary when diving for ammonites.
Why Prognathodon shifted towards this kind of diet when mosasaurs are generally perceived to be apex predators of other reptiles and fish remains uncertain. It could have been that competition for the ecological niche of apex predators was so fierce that the only way Prognathodon could evolve and survive was by adapting to a different food source, removing the need for competition with other predators. It could also be that numbers of large prey animals that mosasaurs are traditionally associated with began to fall, necessitating a need to switch to a different diet. It could have course been to simply exploit an abundant food supply. What is certain is that Prognathodon was not the only mosasaur to adjust to this diet with another named Globidens also having particularly large and rounded crushing teeth in its mouth.
Please be aware of the nature of fossils:
Being buried under the ground for millions of years under tons of pressure tends to be rough. No fossil comes out of the ground whole and perfect. Most fossils have undergone some restoration, while others are altered by man simply to enhance their presentation in different ways. The workers in Morocco do a very professional job, of unearthing and preserving these natural treasures, however, commonly natural cracks are visible on the surface. These are part of the natural beauty of the fossil and are not considered defects.