Near the end of the period that marked the reign of the dinosaurs, approximately 72 million years ago, the diversity of sea-going reptiles was also at its evolutionary peak. One group of these creatures, mosasaurs (MOES-ah-SAWRS), occupied almost every ecological niche in a seaway that at times stretched from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum introduces you to the latest of a long line of discoveries from the marine rocks of Saskatchewan: “Omācīw” (oh-matchee-oh) a Tylosaurus (TIE-low-SORE-us) skeleton, over 9.75 metres (32 feet) in length.
Tylosaurus was a mosasaur, a large, predatory marine reptile closely related to modern monitor lizards and to snakes. Along with plesiosaurs, sharks, fish, and other genera of mosasurs, it was a dominant predator of the Western Interior Seaway during the Late Cretaceous Period.
In 1994, Mr. Oliver Johnson contacted the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to report that what appeared to be fossil bones were being exposed by erosion on a hill northwest of the Herbert Ferry, Saskatchewan. Tim Tokaryk and Dr. John Storer of the RSM took a look at the site and collecting began the following year.
To get at the skeleton, RSM staff needed to remove literally tonnes of wet clay. They worked throughout the month of May 1995, gradually revealing the articulated skeleton - its bones arranged as they were in life - of an ancient sea monster: Tylosaurus. Several shark teeth were found with the skeleton and in its stomach area scientists found the partial remains of a smaller mosasaur. After the specimens were removed from the site, preparators at the RSM in Regina and at its Fossil Research Station in Eastend, painstakingly cleaned it to reveal its secrets.
Humboldt and District Museum & Gallery
April 2013 - August 2013
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