30-foot prehistoric marine lizard uncovered in Fannin County

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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LEONARD, Texas (KXII) - Stephen Kruse said he stumbled upon the find of a lifetime in May when he decided to take a shortcut back to his vehicle after a long day hunting along the North Sulphur River.

“That was the best decision I ever made because about one hundred and fifty yards past the mouth of this tributary, I found a very large vertebra,” said Kruse.

One vertebra led to another and eventually to the head of a prehistoric marine lizard.

“A kid at Christmas time,” said Kruse. “I was about as excited, I did my screaming, dancing,” said Kruse.

His find was a 30-foot and 80 million years old mosasaur.

“They call in the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the sea,” said Kruse. “I was like, where am I going to go hang a forty-foot mosasaur in the house? That’s not gonna happen.”

He handed it over to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, eager to uncover the past of Texoma.

“North Texas was underwater all the way from the modern-day Gulf of Mexico through the center of the state and the great plains of North America,” said Ron Tykoski, the director of paleontology and curator of vertebrae paleontology at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Not only was the landscape dramatically different, but so was the climate.

“Around 80 million to 90 million years ago, actually had some of the highest temperatures on this planet over the last 200 million years ago,” said Tykoski. “Incredibly high sea levels, no seasons, no ice caps at the polls. It is the exact perfect greenhouse condition on our planet.”

The Perot said it expects to clean the head of the mosasaur in a lab at its museum for the public to watch in the next few weeks.

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