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Mosasaurs were not dinosaurs, but were lepidosaurs (reptiles with overlapping scales, the group that includes lizards, snakes, and sphenodonts such as the tuatara):
Mosasaurs appear to have first evolved during early or middle Cretaceous period, perhaps around 96 million years ago. In the last 20 million years of the Cretaceous, following the extinction of Ichthyosaurs, they became the dominant predators. However, all Mosasaurs died out during the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period.
The first publicized discovery of a Mosasaur fossil occurred in 1778. A fossil was found in a limestone quarry in 1780, near the city of Masstricht in Holland. It was not however named or scientifically described until later, the name eventually given, Mosasaur, means "Meuse lizard", and refers to the nearby Meuse River. Subsequently, other fossils which had been found earlier in the same area, and had been on display since around 1770, were also identified as being from a Mosasaur. Since then, other Mosasaur fossils have been found in many other countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Sweden, and the United States, as well as in Africa and off the coast of Antarctica.
Mosasaurs were marine reptiles that lived between 96 and 65 million years ago
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