Named By: Cornalia & Chiozza - 1852.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Mosasauroidea.
Species: M. zendrinii (type).
Size: Roughly about 1 meter long.
Known locations: Croatia. Palestinian Teritory. Slovenia.
Time period: Cenomanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: At least three specimens known.
is a genus that shares several characteristics of snakes and primitive
however at the time of writing Mesoleptos
is thought to
be more likely a primitive mosasauroid. If correct then this would
place Mesoleptos closer to actual monitor lizards
than snakes, given
that later discoveries with mosasaurs indicate a monitor lizard lineage.
Mesoleptos shows several features that would have supported a lifestyle that saw it regularly entering into and swimming in water. These include a laterally compressed tail as well as a reduction in limb size, though Mesoleptos may well likely ventured out of the water when resting. Mesoleptos would have probably been a hunter of small aquatic organisms.
- A new turtle of the genus Podocnemis from the lower Cenomanian of 'Ein Yabrud. - Israel Journal of Zoology 27:169-175. - G. Haas - 1978.
- The Cretaceous marine squamate Mesoleptos and the origin of snakes. - Bulletin of Natural History Museum London (Zool.) 68(2), p131-142. - Michael S. Y. Lee & John D. Scanlon - 2002.