Scientists have discovered a fossil of a large sea lizard (Mosauridae) in Morocco that grew to a length of 8 meters. By the end of the Cretaceous period in Morocco, a large sea lizard may have reached 8 meters (about 26 feet) in length, the third new species to be found within a year, bringing the total number of species to at least 13. .
The high diversity of this group of animals shows how the giant sea lizards associated with snakes and Komodo dragons thrived during the last million years of the Cretaceous. Before that, they and much of the earth were destroyed by the impact of a giant asteroid 66 million years ago.
This new species is named the Fluoridence Serpent. It has a long slender jaw and more than a hundred sharp claws that can catch small prey such as fish and squid. Compared to related creatures, it has very small eyes and poor eyesight, but has dozens of nerve openings in its nose, which suggests that it is capable of perceiving changes in water movement and pressure and hunting. These veins may be sensitive to small changes in water pressure, which is an environmental adaptation found in sea snakes.
Fluoridation has several veins on its face, which means it uses changes in water pressure to detect animals in low light conditions, whether it is at night or in dark water, and there may be other senses that can use it. Most of its relatives are very small, only a few meters long, but the fluoridation has become so large that it is probably 8 meters long, with dense mandibles for larger individuals.
There are many types of sea lizards in Morocco. Some have small teeth to catch fish and squid, others have developed blunt teeth to crush runners, and some larger types of teeth are used to cut or dissect other marine animals — including the same type.
Fluoridation brings Morocco’s latest known Cretaceous mosser number to 13, but researchers believe it may not be the last new species. Co-author of the study, Dr. Noor-Edin Jalil of the Museum of Natural History at the University of Sorbonne (France) said. “It is a large type of carnivore. It is 8 meters long and confirms the diversity of marine fauna before the Cretaceous crisis. The fluoridation snake highlights the importance of Morocco’s archeological heritage and helps explain the biography.” Dr. Natalie Bardet is an expert at the National Museum of Nature in Paris, especially in the phosphate region of Morocco, and she is the co-author of the dissertation.
He said: “Since I started studying these reptiles 20 years ago, I have never stopped being amazed by the incredible diversity of these predators. They all live there and share the available space and food resources. There are great surprises and discoveries! “
The research was carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Sorbonne University Museum of Natural History (France), the Office of the Serbian des Phosphate (OCP) and the University of Cady Aiad (Morocco), and was published in Cretaceous Research.