What If Mosasaurus Were Still Alive?

 

And no, we’re not talking about

the Loch Ness Monster or the Megalodon,

we’re talking about a creature you

probably have never heard of.

The Mosasaur.

In 2014, a British tourist spotted a strange

creature while on a cruise ship

in the Gulf of Mexico.

It became known as the

‘Carnival Cruise Monster’

and the description sounded a lot like a

long extinct apex predator, the Mosasaur.

But if the Mosasaur had survived the extinction

event, which killed off three-quarters

of the plant and animal species on Earth,

then we’d definitely know about it.

It would have completely changed what our

oceans look like and how we use them.

In fact, if the Mosasaur was still

roaming our oceans,

the Megalodon might never have existed.

But how can one animal have such a huge impact?

These nightmarish marine animals were

actually giant lizards.

Kind of like land-dwelling Komodo dragons,

but they evolved for life in the ocean.

Their anatomy made them dangerous predators.

Imagine a lizard monster with the

double-hinged jaw of a snake,

massive teeth, and a tail like a shark.

And they could be as large as 18 meters (56 feet) long.

That’s 4 meters (14 feet) longer than your

average yellow school bus.

They basically ate anything they wanted.

No fish, dolphins, sharks, whales,

or even other Mosasaurs were safe.

Fossils from this species have been found on every continent,

including Antarctica,

evidence that these lizard kings dominated

the oceans in the Cretaceous period.

But they weren’t all so ferocious,

with some species being as small as 1 meter (3 feet) long.

Then how did they become so terrifying?

Their ancestors were more like the marine iguanas living

on the Galapagos Islands today.

Around 90 million years ago,

these lizards would have ventured into the ocean for food.

At first, they stayed close to the shoreline.

But as they evolved,

they started to make the open ocean their home.

The evolution of their powerful tail vertebrae

made them skilled and speedy swimmers,

helping them move further away from the shore.

They also remained close to the surface because,

like dolphins and whales,

they needed to come up for air.

It only took 27 million years for the Mosasaur of Jurassic Park to evolve.

Of course, the Mosasaur in this movie is not very accurate.

Even though a real Mosasaur was smaller than the one in Jurassic Park,

it was still a very dangerous creature.

If this species were alive today,

it would completely alter our oceans.

Much of the marine life we know today

probably wouldn’t exist with the Mosasaur inhabiting our seas.

They just wouldn’t have stood a chance against this mighty foe.

Instead, the fish and mammals in our oceans

would look and act much differently than they do today.

They would have adapted special traits

and methods to avoid the Mosasaurus.

One ecological theory is that predators

actually drive evolution because they force

prey to adapt, and quickly.

In fact, a 2007 study found that the

diversity of marine creatures

over the past hundreds of millions of years

is directly tied to interactions between predator and prey.

So, our oceans might actually be even more

diverse if the Mosasaurus still existed.

But what about us?

Well, this giant lizard would make the oceans

a much more dangerous place for humans.

We would need much larger boats.

Small fishing boats and sail boats could

be swallowed whole by this creature!

Ocean hobbies like sailing and fishing

wouldn’t be as popular,

and swimming and surfing would certainly be life-threatening.

And maybe the story of Moby Dick

would be about a menacing Mosasaur,

instead of a whale.

Thankfully, Mosasaurus do not exist today,

or our oceans would look completely different.

And that’s a good thing.

If the Mosasaurus were able to survive extinction,

what’s to say other species couldn’t survive too?

Just imagine pterodactyls flying overhead!

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