Researchers have made an exciting new discovery in the field of paleontology, as they have identified a new species of mosasaur. The recently unveiled creature has been named Jormungandr walhallaensis, after the giant serpent in Norse mythology. This remarkable find was made near Walhalla, North Dakota, and sheds light on the prehistoric world that existed millions of years ago.
Jormungandr inhabited the Earth during the late Cretaceous period, approximately 80 million years ago. This makes it older than the age of dinosaurs, emphasizing its significance in the study of ancient reptiles. Described as a 24-foot-long lizard with sharp teeth and a stumpy tail, Jormungandr would have been an imposing presence in the waters of its time.
The reptile resided in the Western Interior Seaway, a massive body of water that extended from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. This region was a bustling ecosystem during the late Cretaceous period and was home to a diverse range of marine life. The discovery of Jormungandr expands our knowledge of the mosasaur presence in Campanian North America and is one of the northernmost examples found in the Western Interior Seaway.
The research team was fortunate enough to recover a nearly complete skull, vertebrae, ribs, and other yet-to-be-identified remains. These findings are instrumental in giving scientists a glimpse into the evolutionary history and relationships of mosasaurs. Furthermore, they bridge the gap between two iconic species of mosasaurs, Clidastes and Mosasaurus. This discovery offers valuable insights into the mysterious world of these ancient marine reptiles.
Over the years, previous studies have revealed various characteristics of mosasaurs, including their ability to lay eggs, their wide jaw openings, and the potential existence of venomous capabilities. However, there is still much to learn about these intriguing creatures. Researchers are hopeful that future mosasaurine finds will continue to deepen our understanding of these magnificent marine reptiles.
The discovery of Jormungandr walhallaensis serves as a reminder of the rich history that the Earth holds. It highlights the importance of continued exploration and research in paleontology. By uncovering more about these ancient species, we ultimately gain a deeper appreciation for the wonders of our planet’s past.