Mosasaurs were marine reptiles related to today’s monitor lizards such as the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world. They were the dominant marine predators of the Late Cretaceous, some growing to a length in excess of 50 feet.
Their fossils are somewhat plentiful around the world and the group as a whole – including the genera Mosasaurus, Tylosaurus and Platecarpus – is well-studied. But an abundance of fossil discoveries were missing one crucial ingredient in understanding the life and death of these large ocean-going reptiles. Where were their babies?
Daniel Field, a doctoral candidate in the lab of Jacques Gauthier in Yale’s Department of Geology and Geophysics, “rediscovered” some fossils hiding in plain sight in the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Misidentified as marine birds, Field updated their identity as baby mosasaurs, the youngest mosasaurs ever found.