CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Snake jaw evolution. Computer illustration of a snake and its ancestor, a mosasaur, showing their related dentition and jaw structure. Both animals' lower jaws are seen to be made up of two bones, the foremost bearing teeth. These were linked only by elastic ligaments to the rear jawbones, allowing the animals to open their mouths wide to accommodate large prey. Other similarities include the palatine teeth in two rows between the main set of teeth in the upper jaw. These are used for holding prey tightly. Mosasaurs were marine carnivores which inhabited seas throughout the world between 145 and 65 million years ago.
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