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Research Article

Convergent Evolution in Aquatic Tetrapods: Insights from an Exceptional Fossil Mosasaur

  • Johan Lindgren mail,

    johan.lindgren@geol.lu.se

    Affiliation: Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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  • Michael W. Caldwell,

    Affiliations: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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  • Takuya Konishi,

    Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Current address: Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada

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  • Luis M. Chiappe

    Affiliation: The Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

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  • Published: August 09, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011998
  • Published in PLOS ONE

Reader Comments (1)

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Mosasaur Tail

Posted by Henry123 on 07 Jun 2011 at 18:58 GMT

Is a dorsal lobe on the tail of the Mosasaur accurate? If you look at the pictures of the fossil tail carefully you can see an outline, however it is not of a dorsal lobe but has features that look remarkably reptilian. I think the locomotion of this creature was similar to a water monitor rather than an eel. The reconstruction, with all due respect, looks grossly whale/shark like, granted this creature does exhibit mosaic-like characteristics.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Mosasaur Tail

JLindgren replied to Henry123 on 08 Jun 2011 at 07:28 GMT

We do not know if the mosasaur tail fin had a dorsal lobe or not; however, all evidence points at a two-lobed tail fin. Unfortunately, it is not possible to see the outline of the tail in the specimen we described as this part has been chopped away during collection. Nonetheless, there are scale impressions all the way to the very edge of the block on the slab that contains the tail portion to suggest that the fluke was originally much deeper. The preserved body outline, placement of internal organs and anterior migration of the rib-cage suggest a grossly whale/shark-like body.

No competing interests declared.