Strong explained that there is evidence that each species of giant sea lizard exhibits adaptations for different objects of prey or styles of predation.
“For some species, these adaptations can be very noticeable, such as the extremely long snout and interlocking teeth Gavialimimus, which we hypothesized would help him catch fast-moving prey, ”he said.
He added that it would be another distinctive species Simplex globides—Described last year by the Caldwell lab — which has strong, globular teeth adapted to crush hard prey like shelled animals.
“Not all adaptations in this dozen species are that dramatic, and in some cases there may have been some overlap in prey items, but overall there is evidence that there has been diversification of these species into different niches,”
Alternatively, the main conflicting hypothesis would be a scenario of more direct competition between species. Strong said, given the anatomical differences between these mosasaurs, however, the idea of niche subdivision seems more consistent with the anatomy of these various species.
“This helps to give another dimension to that diversity and shows how all these animals living at the same time in the same place were able to branch out and take their own paths through evolution to be able to coexist in that way. “he said.
The remains of the G. almaghribensis it included a meter-long skull and some isolated bones. There was nothing to explain the cause of the specimen’s death, which was discovered in a fossil-rich phosphate mine in Morocco.
“Morocco is an incredibly good place to find fossils, especially in these phosphate mines,” Strong said. “Those phosphates themselves reflect sediments that would have been deposited in marine environments, so there are a lot of mosasaurs there.”
Reference: “A new species of longirostrine plioplatecarpine mosasaur (Squamata: Mosasauridae) from the Late Moroccan Cretaceous, with a re-evaluation of the problematic taxon ‘Platecarpus’ ptychodon” by Catherine RC Strong, Michael W. Caldwell, Takuya Konishi and Alessandro Palci, 28 September 2020, Journal of Systematic Paleontology.
DOI: 10.1080 / 14772019.2020.1818322