Remains Of 60-Foot Sea Lizard Located In Lowndes County
Apr. 18, 1988
BRAGGS, Ala. (AP) _ Scientists plan to reassemble a 60-foot-long ''lord of the sea'' that is believed to be about 20 feet longer than the discovered remains of other sea lizards.
Robert T. Bakker, University of Colorado Museum Curator, said fossilized mosasaurs have been found in other parts of the world. But he said ''the largest we know of were in the 40-foot-long range.''
''It was the lord of the sea and there is nothing like it today,'' Bakker said of the creature.
He said the Lowndes County site, more than 100 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, was about 100 feet under water when mosasaurs ruled the depths.
''Mosasaurs became extinct along with dinosaurs at the end of the Mesozoic era,'' about 70 million years before the appearance of humans, said Doug Jones, director of the University of Alabama Museum of Natural History.
Bakker and Jones visited Saturday at the site of the dig, which started about one month ago.
The scientists said the lizard had a six-foot-long head and a two-hinged jaw capable of swallowing a cow.
''If a tyrannosaurus rex ever ventured into the water around where one of those was, it would have more than had its hands full,'' Bakker said as he scraped clay from part of the jawbone.
''It could swallow a Hereford steer whole and probably could go through a herd one at a time - it was that large,'' Bakker said.
The discovery was made by Jones and Jerry Oldshue, the assistant vice president for student affairs at Alabama. University officials said they hope to take the fossilized remains to Tuscaloosa to be reassembled.
Oyster shells and other evidence of sea life was found by the paleontologists Saturday, including some that had become fossilized on parts of the uncovered mosasaur.
Jones said it would be ''many weeks'' before the dig is complete.
''We want to make sure we can preserve what we have here,'' he said.