Gourmet Fair

A Fantastical Lizard Comes to Light

Recreation of a scene in the Cretaceous in the Sea of Phosphates in Morocco showing Xenodens calminechari ripping off large pieces of the plesiosaur Zarafasaura (also known as the giraffe lizard).© Andrey Atuchin Courtesy MNHN. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Paris, France — Dragons and dinosaurs have fascinated for millennium. So when a new species of a marine lizard, which resembles both a dragon and a dinosaur, is discovered and identified, it is news of and for the world. Her name, or is it his name, is Xenodens calminechari, a new genus and species of mosasaur, an extinct group of aquatic reptiles which lived from about 72 to 66 million years ago in the mysterious world of the Cretaceous era. A team of European researchers from the Research Center in Paleontology in Paris which includes the National Natural History Museum, the CNRS and the Sorbonne, the University of Bath and the University of Utrecht have described Xenodens calminechari in a paper published in Cretaceous Research. The new species shows the extreme diversity of the marine reptiles in what was the Sea of Phosphates in Morocco, which at the time was submerged by a tropical sea. The lizard, which was the size of a porpoise, lived in a shallow tropical sea and was clearly a carnivore given his remarkable sharp teeth which evoke those of a shark.
©The Gourmet Gazette

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