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Sun Oct 30, 2016, 03:31 PM

Ancient Battle Left 'Sea Monster' With Tooth Stuck in Its Face

About 75 million years ago, a mosasaur a dolphin-like, predatory, marine reptile that lived during the dinosaur age bit another mosasaur so hard that it left its tooth behind, embedded in its foe's face, new research finds.

Now, paleontologists are studying the remains of the victim, a creature that sustained not one, but two attacks on its face, likely from different adversaries, said paleontologist Takuya Konishi, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati.

"The specimen represents the first direct, unequivocal evidence of nonlethal biting, and not predation, between mosasaurs," Konishi told Live Science, here at the 76th annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

A mining company discovered the 21-foot-long (6.5 meters) specimen in southern Alberta, Canada, in 2012, and promptly shared the news with the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Museum researchers spent two years preparing the fossil, "during which [time] the specimen's unique scientific significance became clear: It had a tooth from another mosasaur embedded in its lower jaw," Konishi said. "We were all thrilled, and began working on it."


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