Feeding Time for a Tylosaurus

Our thanks to Mark for emailing Everything Dinosaur an illustration depicting life in the Western Interior Seaway around 75 million years ago.  Lots of Everything Dinosaur customers all over the world are in lockdown and we have been receiving more prehistoric animal drawings and other artworks than we usually do over the last few weeks.  Mark’s illustration depicts one of the apex predators of marine environments in the Late Cretaceous, a Tylosaurus (T. proriger) grabbing a marine turtle.

The turtle is described as a protostegid turtle (Protostegidae), a representative of an extinct family of marine turtles whose taxonomic position within the Order Testudines remains uncertain.  One thing known about this group, which seem to be confined to the Cretaceous, is that some of these protostegids evolved into giants!  For example, the largest turtle known to science Archelon (A. ischyros), has been assigned to the Protostegidae.  At nearly five metres in length with a flipper span of four metres, Archelon inhabited the northern sector of the Western Interior Seaway during the Late Campanian of the Cretaceous.

The Western Interior Seaway

Tylosaurus Attacks a Protostegid Turtle (Western Interior Seaway – Late Cretaceous)

A Tylosaurus attacks a protostegid turtle.
An illustration of the Western Interior Seaway in the Late Cretaceous.  Surrounded by invertebrates and small fish, the Tylosaurus lunges and grabs the unfortunate turtle, whilst hesperornithiform seabirds go about their business catching squid.

Picture credit: Mark Massion

In Mark’s email he explained:

“Please find enclosed a drawing of the mosasaur, Tylosaurus proriger, attacking a protostegid turtle.  This incident is taking place in the Late Cretaceous, Western Interior Sea, in what we now identify as the State of Kansas.  Kansas is located in America’s Midwest.”

The artwork shows a dorsal view (top down) of the scene.  The powerful jaws of the mosasaur have grabbed the turtle whilst hesperornithiform seabirds go about their business of catching squid.  Our thanks to Mark for sending us this illustration.

Inspired by the “Oceans of Kansas”

Mark went onto explain the inspiration behind his artwork:

“An illustration in Michael J. Everhart’s Oceans of Kansas, caught my attention and became the impetus for this drawing.  I would like to acknowledge his help and suggestions on how to correctly depict Tylosaurus.  In addition, Russell Hawley’s superb drawings in Oceans of Kansas also need to be recognised.”

Many Artists Have Been Inspired by the Fossil Discoveries from the Marine Sediments of North America

The Western Interior Seaway (Late Cretaceous)
A dramatic scene from the Western Interior Seaway painted by Zdeněk Burian (1905-1981), the Czech artist and illustrator who is credited for playing a pivotal role in the development of prehistoric animal illustration.

Picture credit: Zdeněk Burian

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We are always delighted to receive drawings, illustrations and other artworks from fans of prehistory and prehistoric animals.  In these uncertain times, with many of our customers in lockdown, doing something creative such as drawing or model making can be very therapeutic and helpful.  We have seen a rise in the number of emails we have received which contain the results of these endeavours, we hope that indulging in these creative activities helps to keep people safe and well.”

Our thanks once again to Mark for sending in his illustration.

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.