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The skull of Hainosaurus (Wikimedia Commons)


Hainosaurus (Greek for "Haino lizard"); pronounced HIGH-no-SORE-us


Oceans of Asia

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (80-65 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 50 feet long and 15 tons


Fish, turtles and marine reptiles

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; narrow skull with sharp teeth


About Hainosaurus:

As mosasaurs go, Hainosaurus was on the giant end of the evolutionary spectrum, measuring almost 50 feet from snout to tail and weighing as much as 15 tons. This marine reptile, fossils of which have been discovered in Asia, was closely related to the North American Tylosaurus (although mosasaur fossils have been dug up in various locations, these creatures had a global distribution, making it a chancy proposition to assign a specific genus to a specific continent). Wherever it lived, Hainosaurus was clearly the apex predator of the late Cretaceous seas, a position later filled by equally huge predators such as the giant prehistoric shark Megalodon.

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