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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
|Fossil at Royal Tyrrell Museum|
It had protective bony rings surrounding its eye sockets, indicating it lived in deep water. Its teeth are similar to those of some Triassic placodonts so it may have lived a similar lifestyle, feeding on shellfish, large fish and sea turtles.
Its fossil remains have been found in the U.S.A (South Dakota and Colorado), Canada (Alberta), Belgium, New Zealand, Morocco and The Netherlands. In 1998, an intact fossil skull was found in the Maastricht limestone quarries. Shortly after, it was nicknamed "Bèr", and put on display in the Maastricht Natural History Museum. This specimen was then identified as a Prognathodon, and received the species name Prognathodon saturator.
A very large specimen found in Israel was for some time referred to as Oronosaurus, but is now regarded as a species of Prognathodon, P. currii. The recent discovery of 2 nearly complete fossils (one which included flippers) in Alberta, Canada have given scientists new data as previous fossils only contained the remains of the skull. One fossil included stomach contents, consisting of elements pertaining to a sea turtle, tarpon-size and trout-size fishes, and a possible cephalopod.
A new fossil found in 2008 and described in 2013 belonging to a 6 foot juvenile Prognathodon was found in Jordan's Harrana Site. The fossil was remarkable in that it preserved the outline of the mosasaur's tail fins, revealing that Prognathodon, like Platecarpus and later mosasaurs also had a bi-lobed tail fluke resembling a downturned shark's tail, the shape of which may have aided the creature in surfacing as well as attacking prey. The discovery also lends evidence to the theory that later mosasaurs were even more well-adapted to the lifestyle that was first occupied by the Ichthyosaurs.
- Schulp, A. S., Polcyn, M. J., Mateus, O., Jacobs, L. L., and Morais, M. L., 2008, A new species of Prognathodon (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from the Maastrichtian of Angola, and the affinities of the mosasaur genus Liodon: In: Proceedings of the Second Mosasaur Meeting, edited by Everhart, M. J, Fort Hays Studies, Special Issue number 3, p. 1-12.
- Christiansen, P.; Bonde, N. (2002). "A new species of gigantic mosasaur from the Late Cretaceous of Israel". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22 (3): 629. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2002)022[0629:ANSOGM]2.0.CO;2.
- Konishi, T., D. Brinkman, J. A. Massare, and M. W. Caldwell. 2011. New exceptional specimens of Prognathodon overtoni (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from the upper Campanian of Alberta, Canada, and the systematics and ecology of the genus.
- Lindgren, J.; Kaddumi, H. F.; Polcyn, M. J. (2013). "Soft tissue preservation in a fossil marine lizard with a bilobed tail fin". Nature Communications 4. doi:10.1038/ncomms3423.
- Ben Creisler: Mosasauridae Translation and Pronunciation Guide  Scroll down for Prognathodon
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