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Re: Mosasaur Sails/Vertebrae

ajgrant@eastlink.ca (Amtoine Grant) writes: 

<< Hey all, what's the concensus on mosasaurs' often depicted 'elongate 
sail' of sorts? Being as they are often depicted with dorsal & ventral 
sails along the tail for added propulsion(ie. water snakes), I've 
noticed that the actual skeletons do not support this. >>

       I don't think there's a concensus, but the actual caudal skeletons DO 
show a great similarty between mosasaurs and sea snakes. Bruce Schumacher and 
I have examined sea snake skeletons and x-rays as well as mosasaur remains. 
We're confident a flattened sea snake-like tail probably was present in 
mosasaurs. We did an abstract at SVP a while back and Bruce will be preparing a 
soon, hopefully.
       We're on the lookout for a specimen with dermal impressions in the 
caudal region. There is a Platecarpus at the Los Angeles museum that was very 
tantilizing, but the plaster jacket was cut extremely close to the caudal verts 
and a portion of the dermal material was accidentally brushed away during 
preparation. DV