Paleontologists have identified a ferocious dinosaur with a crocodile-like snout roamed inland seas over 60 million years ago.
The new Mosasaur species, known as Gavialimimus almaghribensis, was labeled and named by an international team led by Catie Strong, a graduate researcher from the University of Alberta in Canada.
The remains of the marine predator were discovered in Morocco, where over a dozen mosasaur types were found.
Mosasaurs, which breathed air and sometimes reached 55 feet long, lived during the later part of the Cretaceous period, between 72 and 66 million years ago.
Strong claimed that the discovery is proof that mosasaurs became expert “niche” hunters, allowing them to coexist in a crowded ecosystem.
“Its long snout reflects that this mosasaur was likely adapted to a specific form of predation, or niche partitioning, within this larger ecosystem,” Strong said.
The Land Of Killers
The discovery was posted in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology. It helps explain why a high number of mega-predators thrived in a restrictive habitat like an inland sea, according to Strong.
The Globidens simplex was equipped with round, fat teeth that are well-adapted for crushing shelled animals.
“Not all of the adaptations in these dozen or so species are this dramatic, and in some cases there may have been some overlap in prey items.”
“But overall there is evidence that there’s been diversification of these species into different niches […] This does help give another dimension to that diversity and shows how all of these animals living at the same time in the same place were able to branch off and take their own paths through evolution to be able to coexist like that,” she added.