Avascular Necrosis: Occurrence in Diving Cretaceous Mosasaurs

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  03 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4797, pp. 75-77
DOI: 10.1126/science.236.4797.75


A study of vertebrae of extinct giant marine lizards showed the presence of avascular necrosis in two of the three most common genera of these mosasaurs, Platecarpus and Tylosaurus. This bone disease was invariably present (involving 5 to 66% of vertebrae) in these genera, but absent in a third genus Clidastes. Differential occurrence of avascular necrosis may be related to decompression syndrome, suggesting different habitat and diving habits of the respective genera.