Ancient monster with screwdriver teeth discovered: scientists baffled
The seas of the prehistoric world would not have been the best places for navigation and swimming. Millions of years ago, waterways were literally teeming with real sea monsters. The size of these creatures was truly impressive.
Marine reptiles became extinct almost simultaneously with the dinosaurs, probably wiped out by a single catastrophic event on a global scale. But recently, scientists have been puzzled by an unexpected discovery. A new species of carnivorous lizard known as a mosasaurus was discovered in Morocco. The study was published on the MDPI (Committed to the UN Global Compact) website.
Mosasaurs were the main marine predators. They dominated large seas and oceans. In particular, scientists have found specimens in marine sediments on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as in Mediterranean regions once flooded by the prehistoric Thetis Ocean.
In the phosphate sediments of the Ouled Abdoun Basin in Morocco, the remains of jaws and teeth were found that are completely unlike any other known to mankind. Scientists are hypothesising a new species of mosasaur. Other known representatives of this species had teeth with simpler or smaller protrusions.
According to Nick Longrich, a palaeontologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Bath in the UK, "it's unlike any reptile, even any vertebrate we've seen before." He compared the teeth to an Allen key or the tip of a Phillips screwdriver.
It seems likely that the odd teeth are a kind of evolutionary split. That is, the ancient creature is a new specimen originating from a separate species of mosasaurs.
The prehistoric reptile was named Stelledens after its defining feature (from the Latin words for "star" and "tooth").
"It is possible that Stelledens found a unique way of feeding, or perhaps it filled an ecological niche that simply does not exist today," Longrich suggested.
The teeth show clear signs of wear at the tips, so scientists assume that the reptile ate ammonites, crustaceans, or bony fish.
It is hypothesised that Stelledens was approximately 5 metres long, meaning that this species was quite small for a typical mosasaur. So far, the newly discovered mosasaur raises more questions than it answers.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL reported that the "tadpole from hell", which terrified the Earth long before the dinosaurs, showed its face for the first time.
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