dinosaur museum

Platecarpus tympaniticus


Discovered By: Mike Triebold, 1986
Discovery Location: Lane County, Kansas
Location of Original Specimen: Gunma Prefectural Museum, Japan
Diet: Meat Eater (Carnivore)
Period: Late Cretaceous
Age: 83 million years
Formation: Niobrara Chalk
Length: 15 ft

Platecarpus was a member of the group of marine lizards called mosasaurs (MOE-ZAH-SOARS). Scientists have found Platecarpus specimens with thick fossilized eardrums; this adaptation may have made it easier for the animal to dive in deep water.

Top predators of the world’s oceans for the last 20 million years of the Cretaceous Period, mosasaurs were an offshoot of the monitor lizard group, fully adapted to a marine life. Some of them were giants. Among them, Platecarpus was the most abundant. An interesting anatomical feature of the mosasaurs is the existence of teeth in the palate (pterygoid) of the skull. This helped keep prey from escaping. The more the prey struggled, the faster it was pushed down the throat.

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