I grew up in Austin and have been visiting the Texas Memorial Museum (known to my kids as “The Dinosaur Museum”) on the UT campus as long as I can remember. Back then, the Onion Creek Mosasaur hung in the entrance hall and was the first thing you saw entering the building. It was an impressive sight, even more so for a small child. Recently, the museum has been undergoing renovations and the Mosasaur has a new home (and a new pose) in the museum’s basement. I’ve always loved the creature and on a whim, looked up the domain, and boom, the name of my consultancy practice was sealed!
According to the Museum, this specimen was discovered in 1934 just outside Austin by University of Texas geology students Clyde Ikins and John P. Smith, the Onion Creek Mosasaur is 30 feet long, about 12 feet of which are tail. The head is 4 feet 8 inches long, and the jaws, when fully opened, have a gape of about 3 feet.
More about Mosasaurs
Imagine a killer whale crossed with a crocodile and you’ve got a pretty clear picture of what a Mosasaur was like. In addition, the Mosasaur had a double-hinged jaw (like a snake) which means it could open its mouth extremely wide. Put your hands together, fingers extended and together (as if you were praying) and then with the heels of your hands touching, move your palms apart, so that your hands form a “V”. That’s what a crocodile can do with its jaws. Now, perform the same motion, except also bend one of your hands at the first knuckle (where your palms meet your fingers) while performing the same motion and you can see how much wider a snake or a Mosasaur could open its mouth. Gives me the heebie-jeebies! Here’s an animation I put together: chomp!