Is it Possible that Killer Whales Hunt now like Mosasaurs Did a Long Time Ago?

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A theory coming from Takuya Konishi, a biology professor from the University of Cincinnati, proposes that mosasaurs subdued prey by ramming them with their bony snouts. This idea popped into his head after he took a closer look at a fossilized newborn specimen for his research study.

Konishi chose the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology conference from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which will take place in October, to present his findings. He said that “killer whales don’t hunt big prey by biting. They hunt by ramming and tearing them apart after the prey is weak. They are chasing fast-moving animals so they use inertia. If they were swimming full speed at you, they would generate a lot of force. And their snout is conspicuously protruding”.

You might remember the mosasaur as the enormous marine reptile from the movie “Jurassic World”. It lived at the same time with the famous Tyrannosaurus rex, more than 65 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period. They resembled today’s killer whales, having sharp teeth, flippers and powerful tails. There were some capable of outgrowing orcas, reaching the size of a school bus.

Just as orcas are today, mosasaurs were the apex predators of the seas back then. The only thing that could have produced fear was a bigger mosasaur. This month there was a study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, where Konishi took another look at the newborn specimen which he first studied in 2004 as he was working for his master’s degree in Kansas.

Back in 1991, paleontologist Michael Everhart unearthed from a rock formation dubbed the Kansas Chalk, which is renowned for marine fossils, about 20 small fragments of skull. At first, it was believed that it was a Platecarpus, a mosasaur species found commonly in the area almost 85 million years ago.


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