Here is the second definite mandible piece. It is split and the tooth roots are visible in the jawbone.
Latest, we have a more complete mandible in two pieces. One was excavated last year, the other piece a few weeks ago. They are both from the same bone, but were located in two blocks (block 1 and block 2) and were broken through when the blocks broke. This is the most complete fragment so far. It clearly shows that the front part of the jaw had teeth in sockets, but further toward the rear it transitioned to a grooved bone that may not have had teeth. Think of a horse, with cutting teeth in the front and molars in the rear separated by a vacant space. ( where the bit goes). Other known thallatosaurs have weird tooth patterns so this is not surprising, I'd really like to find a whole lower jaw, or at least more toward the rear, but you get what you get on these beasts.
I wish you could see the detail in these teeth. They even have small pits in them. A retired dentist friend of mine ( Greg Gentry) from the NARG group says it's probably a case of the enamel wearing through and exposing the dentin, Since the dentin is softer, it wears away and forms a pit or depression. Anyway it's really cool and wonderful to think that these teeth were used 230 million years ago and were made the same way as current teeth, even though tey are reptile and our teeth are mammal.
Ans here are a couple of centrums - the force-bearing part of the backbones. One of these is very unusual by being thin for it's diameter. We have one or two like this already. They both show the typical hourglass figure where the neural arch attached to them, so we know they are both from these thalattosaurs.
Sincerely, Greg Carr