Bruce is a Tylosaurus Pembinensis and is the Guinness World Record holder as the largest publicly displayed mosasaur.
Bruce lived during the late Cretaceous period, approximately 80 million years ago. He swam in a deep sea environment with numerous other marine reptiles. This ocean is termed the Western Interior Seaway and split North America in two. The Seaway spanned from the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean to the warm currents of the Gulf of Mexico.
Bruce belonged to a group of Mosasaurs called the Tylosaurs. These Tylosaurs were the largest of the Mosasaurs, Bruce being the largest in the world for this time period, at more than 13 meters in length or approximately 43 feet long from snout to tail. Bruce was a fierce predator, top of the food chain in the Seaway eating anything it its path from plesiosaurs to ammonites (shelled organisms).
The tail of Bruce is exceptionally long, moving side to side to propel him forward with snake-like undulations, while the large flippers primarily steered. Palaeontologists think the Mosasaurs lineage was branched off from a lizard group know today as the Monitor Lizards.
In 1974, Bruce was discovered north of Thornhill, within the Pembina Member of the Pierre Shale Formation. It took approximately two field seasons to excavate the skeleton. The skeleton was reasonably complete with 65-70% of the original bones.
This is before we started restoring the skull, we molded the bones of the skull then made casts of them which we later used in the restoration. In this picture you see the anterior part of the original dentary with teeth in it. Next to the dentary is a similar object that is creamy white. It is the cast or duplicate of the original bone.
In this case we did not use the real bones to restore the skull, we made casts of the bones we had, and incorporated these skull bone casts into a foam block which we then carved into a complete skull. The yellowish parts are the casts of the real bones that we have, the pure white is the sculpted part.
On the table are 13 vertebrae that were missing spines and lateral processes. The grayish parts are the real, original bones that we have. The creamy yellow is the sculpting clay that we used to restore the missing parts. Now that this is done, we will be making the molds of the restored vertebrae.
In this picture, you can see the steel that is inside the vertebrae. We are in the process of securing the string of vertebrae on the armature. In this photo, we are about 2/3 of the way on this section of backbone.
A technician is putting the finishing touches to the cast of the skull after it has been mounted on the steel armature that artriculates the lower jaws to the cranium and also has the coupler that connects it to the neck.
We indeed use old hospital gurneys to move our "patient" around, nothing is smoother running than those. On this gurney are a number of vertebrae and chevrons that are coated with latex rubber which is curing. This latex will later be peeled off the original bones and give us the flexible molds that we need to duplicate the bones throughout the process of casting.