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Tylosaurus proriger

This mosasaur lived during the Cretaceous Period, about 88 million years ago.

This site will illustrate the Tylosaurus proriger I found in northern Smith County, Kansas. This reptile was found June 11, 2014. The jaw is 4 feet long, and the body length can be calculated by knowing the length of the jaws. Fourteen percent of the body length is skull, so this animal would have been 28-30 feet long, and weigh 2400-3000 pounds.

This is the whole skeleton of a Tylosaurus

This is the first indication of bones being found here. I spotted this vertebra from the bottom of the hill, a matter of 100 feet.

Here the size of the vertebra can be compared to the size of the my geological pick.

Here's what the surrounding area looked like, lots of scattered vertebra.

This is the first indication of bones located here other than the surface vertebrae.

Close-up of some of the surface vertebrae.

A close-up of what turned out to be the posterior end of the right jaw.

The right side of the jaw is coming into view.

This is an example of the size of the vertebrae.

Some of the "floater vertebrae" ones not found it their proper position, or away from the rest of the skeleton.

Looking up hill at the site, and I mean uphill. Site is near the backpack.

This is the right side of the jaw when partially uncovered.

These two vertebrae represent the various sizes found. I have 36 of the more than 140 vertebrae found in this reptile.

Hard to see here, but the teeth are beginning to show-up, at top center.

Mike Everhart, a professional paleontologist from Derby, Kansas, lends a welcome hand digging.

Mike is the adjunct curator of paleontology at the Sternberg Museum in Hays, Kansas. I needed Mike to determine the species of this animal.

For a break Mike checks out the surrounding hills for fossils.

Some of the surrounding vertebrae are shown here.

Teeth showing up makes the dig more interesting.

Another interesting bone-the quadrate is found next to the right jaw.

This is a close-up of the quadrate bone. It is located near the rear of the jaw, and is the location of the external ear.

Don't know what I'm doing here except trying to see from underneath my hat!

This is an overall view of the site, showing the steepness of the incline.

Mike decided he needed to take another picture.

This photo shows the size of the quadrate bone - a little over six inches long.

I thought I would plaster these vertebrae in one cast, but Mike decided to pick each one up.

A few teeth are beginning to show up.

The right side of the jaw is shown in the upper right and the "floater" vertebrae in the foreground.

The right side is nearly ready to be plastered.

Mike applies wet paper towels to the jaw.

The aluminum foil, and paper towels have been applied and ready for the plaster, burlap mixture.

This is a very exciting time in paleontology - when it's time to pop the plaster cast loose and see if the plaster has "grabbed" all the bones.

I was really lucky when I turned the cast over, all the bones were in the proper position.

The right side is in my preparation lab and will be prepared under controlled conditions.

JoAnn Hoertel, and my son Kent, helped me turn over the left jaw.

Here's a shot of the total length of the jaw.

Close-up of some of the perfect teeth.

Ready to load the cast onto the two-wheeler. Most teeth are 1.75 inches long.

Anterior portion of the jaw.

Posterior portion of the left jaw.

Have the left side of the jaw at home where I can prepare it.

This is the left side completed and on display.

Finally the end of the project, this is the right jaw and is on display. Both jaws are 4 feet long.


Email: boneman@ruraltel.net