Named By: D. A. Russel - 1967.
Synonyms: Clidastes velox, Platecarpus oxyrhinus.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Squamata, Mosasauridae, Plioplatecarpinae.
Species: E. clidastoides (type).
Size: Skull roughly 74 centimetres long.
Known locations: USA, Kansas.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Skull and forward half of the post cranial skeleton.
not very well known genus of mosasaur,
Ectenosaurus has still helped
us to confirm that older ideas about how mosasaurs swam are simply
wrong. Over a hundred years ago mosasaurs were thought to have been
close relatives of snakes (again an idea that is now seen as
wrong), and like them the mosasaurs were thought to undulate their
entire bodies to swim through the water. However the slab that the
Ectenosaurus holotype is preserved on also has the
scales on it. These scales are a few millimetres long, oval and
slightly ridged. They also made it so that the trunk of Ectenosaurus
would have been fairly rigid, and not suited to the smooth undulating
motion that snakes are capable of. This means that swimming
propulsion for Ectenosaurus must have been
provided by the tail,
and as genera such as Platecarpus
Ectenosaurus most probably had a tail fluke also.
Ectenosaurus was first named as a species of Clidastes in 1953, all the way until 1967 when it was renamed as a new genus by Dale Russel.
- Systematics and Morphology of American Mosasaurs (Reptilia, Sauria). - Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 23:1-252. - D. A. Russel - 1967.