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    Platecarpus tympaniticus
    Late Cretaceous
    Smokey Hill Chalk, Niobrara Formation, Ellis Co., Western Kansas, USA

    The Mosasaur was an aquatic reptile that flourished in oceans across the globe throughout the Cretaceous period. They were represented by over seventy different species, ranging in size from 10 to almost 60 feet in length, and following the extinction of the Ichthyosaurs, were the undisputed apex predators of these ancient waters. The present specimen is the skull of a Platecarpus, a species known mainly from North America that could attain lengths of up to 15 feet - no less deadly than its larger cousins, however, as one glance at this bristling mouth full of teeth will demonstrate. With almost complete dentition, both jaws boast rows of large curving fangs, with excellent grain and an enamel-like sheen. Indeed, the whole skull displays superb bone texture and wood-like grain, in a fine gray-brown patination. The distinctive quadrates were curled bones connecting upper and lower jaw to allow for fore and aft movement - it is believed that the Mosasaur would actually swallow its prey like a snake, and could unhinge the jaw to take its meals whole. Close examination also reveals the hidden, second set of teeth protruding from the palate, which would have acted as an extra hindrance to the creature's still-living prey, trying desperately to escape the terrible maw. Most interesting of all, however, is the evidence of violence done to this creature in life, and by another Mosasaur no less. Terrific bite marks are visible on the left side of the skull and face, above the eye socket and into the lower jaw. There is evidence of an infection in the lower jaw resulting from the bite, and deformities at the tip of the nose are probably a result of the same violent encounter. A specimen in superb condition, of particular interest for the pathological details, it measures 20 inches in length on a discreet ebonized metal armature over an oval mahogany base.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    20th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,637

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