Permanent Exhibition » Mosasaur Hall

  • Skeleton of a lizard exhibited in the Mosasaur Hall
  • Swimming mosasaur from an animated film shown in the Mosasaur Hall
  • View of the Mosasaur Hall
  • The two parts of a mosasaur skull exhibited in the Mosasaur Hall
  • View of the Mosasaur Hall

Mosasaur Hall

At the time when the tyrannosaurs ruled the continents, gigantic predatory lizards roamed the seas. These were the mosasaurs.

Strangely, not many people have ever heard of them. That is why we have decided to present a few of the specimens from our mosasaur collection, one of the biggest in the world. These are now on display in a cosy, well-lit gallery next to our iguanodon exhibit in the basement.

Here, you can admire a 12.5-metre-long Belgian specimen, Hainosaurus bernardi, compare the anatomy of the mosasaurs with that of reptiles and other modern-day animals, understand the mechanics of how they swam, and much more.

Remarkable Elements

Hainosaurus Bernardi
  • The The skeleton of this ‘Hainosaurus bernardi’ measures nearly 12.5 metres long.measures nearly 12.5 metres long.

The Hainosaurus bernardi is one of the largest mosasaurs known to date. Its name means 'lizard from (the valley) of the Haine'. The Haine river also gives its name to the Hainaut province where the mosasaur was discovered, in the Ciply chalk quarries, 130 years ago.

The specimen on display is 68 to 70 million years old (Maastrichtian to Upper Cretaceous periods). This authentic fossil is near complete apart from a missing section of the spinal column – replaced by fabricated bones in the exhibit – which was probably destroyed as the chalk in which the animal was resting dissolved away.

Skulls that Speak Volumes
  • Two skulls of mosasaur fossils exhibited in the Mosasaur Hall

By looking at mosasaurs' skulls, we can deduce information about how they lived, their sensory capacities, their intelligence, and more.

For example, the sharp, backwards-curved teeth, like those of the Mosasaurus hoffmanni, tell us about their diet: they were carnivores. The extremely mobile jaws allowed them to swallow large prey that were held in place by the teeth in the palate and could not escape once caught.

A Creature to be Reckoned With
  • A mosasaur eating a shark, picture shown in the Mosasaur Hall

With their long, hydrodynamic bodies; supple, muscular tails ending in an efficient bi-lobed tail fluke; and limbs transformed into flippers for balance and steering, the large mosasaurs exhibited in this room were certainly fast swimmers, and with their powerful jaws, also dangerous predators!

They could certainly hold their own against the large sharks that cruised the same seas during the Upper Cretaceous period!

Go to top