To Build a Mosasaur

Tylosaurus was one of the largest genera of mosasaur in history. The specimen now displayed in the Peabody’s new Central Gallery once swam and hunted in Late Cretaceous seas over what is now Texas. Its fossilized remains were preserved for millions of years before being meticulously extracted and prepared for exhibition.

This fossil mount, a complex puzzle of over one hundred individual bones and cast skeletal segments was recently delivered, assembled, and installed by Research Casting International.

Many of these bones are fitted with custom metal armatures, each articulated to its neighbor and attached to the main, steel substructure. These are assembled by hand, one-by-one, and allow individual bones to be removed for research.

With the armatures in place, the assemblies are placed onto their corresponding slots along the steel backbone.

As the spine takes shape, the jaw bones are raised and attached to the bottom of the skull support.

Each of the Tylosaurus’s vertebrae are placed individually, from the neck to the tail, while the flippers are pre-assembled and installed as one piece.

Visitors can see this mosasaur in-person when we reopen in 2024, as part of our new, mid-air centerpiece high above the Central Gallery.