Marine reptiles

Globidens - marine reptile pictures

Globidens ("globe teeth') is an extinct genus of large marine reptiles that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period, between 75 and 67 million years ago.

Globidens had a streamlined body, up to 6 m long, with flippers, and a laterally flattened tail. It weighed about two tons. Its robustly built skull contained powerful, tightly-articulating jaws, with an enormous bite force. At 9.7 tons, its bite was the strongest of all aquatic reptiles of its day. In addition, its teeth were different from those of other marine predators.

Globidens is not the only aquatic predator to adapt to a diet of almost exclusively hard shelled animals, but its teeth display perhaps the most specialized shape serving the purpose. The teeth were 'globe shaped' (giving rise to its name), with a larger, rounded upper portion of the crown that sat upon a slightly narrower base. An important aspect of such dentition is that it was much more resilient to impact damage, such a chips and cracks. Every time the jaw was moved up and down, each tooth would strike the shell of the prey animal like a ball hammer, cracking up the shell so that Globidens could get at the soft flesh within.

Fossils of this prehistoric animal have been recovered from the USA, parts of Africa and Asia (Indonesia).

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