Specimen of the Month October 2019: Mosasaur

Or the Meuse Lizard

Ward Cast: Original in Natural History Museum Paris

Mosasaurus hoffmanni Mantell 1829
Maastricht, Netherlands. 
Late Cretaceous ~66 million years ago



This Mosasaur cast  is a replica of the first described specimen of a Mosasaur, with the original on exhibit in the Natural History Museum in Paris. Our preparators are restoring it after over 60 years in storage in the tunnels beneath Foss Hill and in the Exley Penthouse. After restoration, it will be mounted in a glass-topped table for exhibition in Olin Library next semester. The original specimen is still a bone of contention between the Netherlands – where it was first discovered in 1780 by quarrymen who sold it to a local surgeon, and France – to which it was brought by an occupying army said to have given 600 bottles of wine for it in 1795.

Mosasaurs were apex predators in the oceans during the Late Cretaceous when the last dinosaurs walked the Earth. Some of these marine lizards achieved lengths of up to 18 meters.