Scientists have discovered a new mosasaur, named Wakayama Soryu, in Japan that lived 72 million years ago.


These are extinct, marine reptiles ruled the oceans during the Late Cretaceous period, roughly 145.5 million to 66 million years ago.

What were they?

  • Mosasaurs weren’t actually dinosaurs, but they belonged to the group Squamata, which today includes lizards and snakes.
  • They evolved from land-dwelling lizards who gradually adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, developing streamlined bodies, paddle-like limbs, and powerful tails.
  • Some species grew enormous, reaching lengths of up to 56 feet (17 meters), making them apex predators of their time.

What did they look like?

  • They are giant, streamlined lizard with powerful flippers instead of legs.
  • They had long, flexible necks with large, toothy skulls perfect for catching prey.
  • Some species even sported crests and bony ridges on their heads, perhaps for display or fighting.

Diet and behavior:

  • Mosasaurs were fierce carnivores, feeding on a variety of prey, including fish, turtles, marine birds, and even other mosasaurs!
  • Their powerful jaws and sharp teeth were perfectly adapted for ripping and tearing flesh.
  • Fossil evidence suggests they were ambush predators, using their streamlined bodies and sharp senses to surprise their victims.

Diversity and extinction:

  • Mosasaurs weren’t all giants! Species ranged in size from just a few feet to the behemoths mentioned earlier.
  • They also varied in body shape and hunting strategies, some specializing in open-water hunting while others favored the shallows.
  • Sadly, mosasaurs met their end along with the dinosaurs in the mass extinction event that closed the Cretaceous period. The exact cause is still debated, but likely involved a combination of factors like asteroid impacts and climate change.

Why are they interesting?

  • Mosasaurs offer a glimpse into a time when reptiles dominated the oceans, showcasing the incredible diversity and adaptability of life.
  • Studying their fossils helps us understand how evolution works and how animals adapt to different environments.
  • They spark our imaginations with their impressive size and predatory prowess, making them popular subjects in books, movies, and documentaries.