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Still Waters

Dino-era sea lizard had teeth like a shark

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Still Waters

New study identifies a bizarre new species suggesting that giant marine lizards thrived before the asteroid wiped them out 66 million years ago.

A new species of mosasaur—an ancient sea-going lizard from the age of dinosaurs—has been found with shark-like teeth that gave it a deadly slicing bite.

Xenodens calminechari, from the Cretaceous of Morocco, had knifelike teeth that were packed edge to edge to make a serrated blade and resemble those of certain sharks. The cutting teeth let the small, agile mosasaur, about the size of a small porpoise, punch above its weight, cutting fish in half and taking large bites from bigger animals.

Dr. Nick Longrich, Senior Lecturer at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath and lead author on the paper, said: "66 million years ago, the coasts of Africa were the most dangerous seas in the world.


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