A fossil mosasaur skull and partial skeleton excavated from Angola’s costal cliffs for display in “Sea Monsters Unearthed.”
When the South Atlantic ocean basin was still young, a new deep-water connection between the Southern and Northern Hemispheres allowed giant marine reptiles to move into Angola's coastal waters. Mosasaurs and sea turtles, drawn by the region's plentiful food, were among the first reptiles to prowl these waters.
“Fossils tell us about the life that once lived on Earth, and how the environments that came before us evolve over time,” said Louis Jacobs, professor emeritus of paleontology at SMU and collaborating curator for the exhibition. “Our planet has been running natural experiments on what shapes environments, and thereby life, for millions of years. If it weren’t for the fossil record, we wouldn’t understand what drives the story of life on our planet.”
Photo: Hillsman S. Jackson, Southern Methodist University