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Platecarpus

Platecarpus tympaniticus
The name Platecarpus means "flat wrist," a title that describe their large steering flippers. These members of the Mosasaur family lived during the late Cretaceous, around 85-80 million years ago, and swam that seas that covered what is now North America, Europe, and Africa.

Platecarpus could grow as long as 24ft, but even at that size they were considered a medium-length Mosasaur. They sported long, narrow jaws and hunted small fish and squid in the shallow seas. (We know they probably ate softer aquatic creatures because they had less teeth.) Platecarpus swam using its strong, vertically paddled tail, moving in a very snake-like fashion and steering with those aforementioned flippers.

Though they were not the largest Mosasaurs, nor the most ferocious, they were one of the most abundant... at least when it comes to fossils. Remains have been found in three different continents, and were first discovered back in the 1860s, at the early part of the paleontology boom.

Status : Extinct for 80 million years
Location : North America, Europe, Africa
Size : Length up to 24ft (7m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Order : Squamata -- Family : †Mosasauridae
Genus : †Platecarpus -- Species : † P. tympaniticus

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