Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    FINE PATHOLOGICAL MOSASAUR SKULL
    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.


    Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000.

    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.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information.

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    20th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,267

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $50,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $50,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 April 23 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    In my estimation Taylor exemplified professionalism and in that respect clearly added value to Heritage Auctions as their representative.
    Robert B.,
    Philadelphia, PA
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,441,296
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $6,712,638
    2014 November 14 American Indian Art , Pre-Columbian, & Tribal Art Signature Auction
    2014 Nov 14 American Indian Art, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art Auction
    REALIZED $441,524
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $5,683,719
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    REALIZED $439,980
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $624,835
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    REALIZED $824,108
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,089,341
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    REALIZED $1,725,292
    2018 October 12 Illustration Art - Dallas
    2018 October 12 Illustration Art - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $1,749,643