From the exhibition "Sea Monsters" on Geocenter Møn.
Supervised by Mike Everhart and Luis Chiappe.
In the prehistoric sea that covered Kansas 85 million years ago, a five-meter-long Mosasaur is gliding through the water. Its eyes are locked to a group of huge squids that swim right ahead in the muddy water. The cephalopods are between four and six meters long. They float quietly in the water with the tentacles drawn close to the body. A large fish, about a meter long, swims around them unaware of the danger of life it is in. With the speed of lightning, one of the octopuses shoot its tentacles outwards. The suction cups quickly catch the fighting fish and pull it back against the razor-sharp beak at the center of the octopus’ mouth. It eats the fish, happily ignorant of its own dangerous situation. This monster, known as Tusoteuthis, can reach a size of over 7.5 meters. Its large but soft body is supported by an internal structure called "gladius", which is made of chitin — a tough, protective, and semi-transparent substance. This gladius acts as a backbone, and fossilize. Out of the dark, the hungry Mosaic comes. Its mitts are drawn tightly to the body, while its powerful tail quickly drives it through the water towards the large squid. With open jaws, it cuts its teeth into the middle part of the squid. The power of its bite destroys the gladius in the squid's body, and with this, the octopus is finished, and the Mosaic begins its feast. This fossilized squid gladius carries signs of wounds that show that it was prey to a large Mosasaur, perhaps an animal of almost five meters. The sharp curved teeth of a Mosasaur penetrated the squid's body with such a force that the gladius was severely damaged and left permanent biting marks shown on the fossil. The Mosasaur took another roaring bite, probably to handle its prey before swallow it. In-depth studies show great agreement between the wounds on the gladius and the morphology of the teeth in a typical Mosasaur, making it possible to exclude that the wounds were applied by a shark, as their teeth are much more close-fitting. Even though a battle between a Tusoteuthis and a prehistoric shark would probably be just as action packed.