The Earth has been around for billions of years, which means that plenty of animals have come and gone. And, while we're all pretty familiar with classic dinosaurs, extinct ocean animals just don't get their due — especially considering how truly wild some of them were. The Tylosaurus proriger doesn't just have an awesome name; it was also a big deal millions of years ago.
Imagine a giant water lizard with the head of a crocodile that ate sharks and also existed alongside the Tyrannosaurus rex.
Yeah, let's all be glad the Tylosaurus proriger is not still alive today.
The Tylosaurus proriger existed 85 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period (also home to famed dinosaurs like the T-Rex and the triceratops).
It ruled the seas with its 45-foot-long body.
It was known to be one of "the deadliest hunters of its time," per NatGeo. And according to a separate NatGeo article, the marine lizard has been known to hunt everything from fish, seabirds, sharks and even other mosasaurs, based on preserved stomach contents.
It's part of the larger mosasaur species.
If the word mosasaur sounds familiar, it may be because of "Jurassic World."
The 2015 movie featured a ferocious mosasaur called the mosasaurus.
This mosasaur looks a lot like the Tylosaurus proriger with its crocodile mouth, four paddlelike flippers and long flat tail.
Most of the Tylosaurus' fossils have been found in Kansas, which was once home to a large ocean called the Western Interior Seaway. Initial fossil findings were thought to belong to a type of crocodile.
But, further fossils built the skeleton of a powerful, extinct sea beast.
It's a rare find.
It's worth noting that, though they lived alongside dinosaurs, mosasaurs are not dinosaurs themselves. To be classified as a dinosaur, creatures had to live on land.
Mosasaurs like the Tylosaurus proriger lived entirely in the water.
Although Tylosaurus proriger went extinct alongside the dinosaurs, Oceans of Kansas Paleontology reports they "are believed to be distantly related to monitor lizards, such as the Komodo dragon," as well as snakes — keeping their spirit alive and well today ...