The scientific tourist #286 — Daring Sword Ray

A.K.A. Xiphactinus audax — recovered in Kansas, and now on display at the Burke Museum in Seattle Washington:

Daring Sword Ray

Xiphactinus audax was a giant predatory fish that lived in the Western Interior Seaway, a shallow sea that covered much of what’s now the U.S. during the Late Cretaceous.  You might recall him from an earlier road trip through Kansas.

But while the Sternberg Museum’s Xiphactinus is some 13 feet long, this one at the Burke is “only” 9 feet long — about half the length of the longest ones found to date.  This specimen dates to about 85 million years ago — roughly midway through the Late Cretaceous epoch, and a lively time for the dinosaurs.

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