News / Science & Technology

Ancient Sea Lizard Had Shark-like Fin

The mosasaur Prognathodon was a lizard-like creature with a shark-like fin.
The mosasaur Prognathodon was a lizard-like creature with a shark-like fin.

Related Articles

New Horned Dinosaur Unearthed

Nasutoceratops, found in southern Utah, lived 76 million years ago in the late Cretaceous period

Dinosaur Teeth Fell Out Often, Regrew Quickly

For some, as many as 5 teeth were waiting in each tooth socket

Scientists Excavate Full Dinosaur Tail in Mexico

The well-preserved five-meter-long tail was found west of Monterrey, Mexico, and is believed to be 72 million years old
VOA News
It was a lizard with a shark-like fin. That’s what Swedish researchers have discovered about the fearsome mosasaur Prognathodon, which lived in the seas of the Cretaceous Period about 70 million years ago.

The discovery was based on a fossil found in Jordan in 2008. Researcher Johan Lindgren, of Lund University in Sweden, travelled to Jordan in 2011 and discovered that imprints of soft tissue had been preserved around the creature’s tail fin, which ultimately led to the conclusion about its shape. The fossil proved to be the first one of its kind that revealed the tail fin contour in its entirety. But unlike a shark fin, the mosasaur’s fin faced downward

“After trying to reconstruct the tail fin for years, with only the skeleton to go by, I was suddenly standing in front of the definitive answer”, said Johan Lindgren, who lead the international group of Jordanian and American researchers involved in the discovery. “It was a fantastic feeling of euphoria.”

The mosasaur, which could grow up to 17 meters in length, was previously thought to have a long, rectilinear body and a straight, elongated tail. Instead, it has a streamlined, fish-like body with a fluked tail. This is more in line with other big marine creatures, such as the extinct ichthyosaurs (250-94 million years ago) and today’s sharks and whales.

“These characteristics demonstrate in an outstanding way how organisms living in similar environments develop similar features, in a process known as convergent evolution”, said Lindgren.

He points out that the mosasaur’s evolutionary history – not just this discovery but in general – is one of the best examples of large-scale evolution and how animals change appearance in order to adapt to a new environment. In this case, mosasaurs adapted to a marine life following life on land.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Steve from: Alabama
September 14, 2013 1:22 AM
The mosasaur was discovered by H. Kaddumi in 2008, a Jordanian paleontologist, get that right and stop copying each other's mistakes.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid