The ‘T-Rex of the Seas’: Unearthing a Fearsome Predator at the KORITE Mine!

Mosasaur Uncovered at the KORITE Mine

Recently a magnificent discovery at the KORITE mine has been garnering some serious attention, including local news coverage – and we are excited to dive into the details!

When we aren’t sharing the color and beauty of Canadian ammolite gemstones with the world, sometimes we unearth special finds that capture the imagination and throw us into a world of ancient history!

Ancient Marine Predator Found at the KORITE Mine!

At the KORITE mine just outside of Lethbridge, AB, the regular mining operations usually capture precious ammolite gemstone material and Canadian ammonite specimens, along with some small fossils. Read more about KORITE’s mining operations. On rare occasions however, the mining team uncovers truly awe-inspiring fossils which demand attention and remind us just how vast and exciting the ancient world can be. In this instance, the KORITE team has uncovered the fossilized skeleton of a Mosasaur, which is a large prehistoric marine reptile and one of the main predators of the ammonite.

The Mosasaur, which is similar to a crocodile or alligator, could grow up to 56 feet in length and had two rows of sharp teeth set in a huge jaw, making them a viscous and fearsome predator. The Mosasaur is often referred to as the “T-Rex of the Seas”! We see further evidence of these teeth in some instances of ammonite specimens recovered from the KORITE mine. Occasionally, we will spot distinct markings on the outer surface of the ammonite which many believe to be bite marks from the Mosasaur. You can read more about this phenomenon

As seen above, the large crushing teeth of the mosasaur were hollow, and in this instance the space has been filled in over millions of years with quartz crystal deposits. Just the skull of a mosasaur could measure up to a meter long! In this instance, the find was especially noteworthy due to the complete, full nature of the fossil – it had been well preserved rather than compressed or compacted with time, which is often the unfortunate reality with ancient discoveries.

When special fossils such as this mosasaur are uncovered, special care is taken to document and preserve the discovery. In this instance, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology has recently arrived on site to painstakingly extract and prepare the Mosasaur fossil. The KORITE team exposed a small amount of the fossil, including some of the jaw, but was careful to leave the rest of the extraction process to the Royal Tyrell. As with any special fossils of this nature, the utmost care is required to ensure the fossil remains as whole and complete as possible and to prevent damage during transit.

To the mosasaur, an ammonite would have been little more than lunch. But after 71 million years, the formation of ammolite gemstone material on Canadian ammonites has transformed them into majestic art pieces, shimmering with coloration and beauty unlike anything else. If you are interested in owning one of these Canadian treasures, be sure to explore KORITE’s selection of Canadian Ammonites, all of which were carefully exctracted from the very same mine as this mosasaur skeleton, just outside of Lethbridge, Alberta.