ZPi | Pontosaurus minnesotae
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Lyle Zapato

Pontosaurus minnesotae

Lyle Zapato | 2011-05-27.6100 LMT | Nature | Art

Ponto Lake, Minnesota, Home of the endangered Pontosaurus

Ponto Lake in Minnesota is home to possibly the last remaining pontosaur (specifically Pontosaurus minnesotae) in all of Cass County. This mosasauroid's ancestors presumably arrived in Minnesota in the late Cretaceous when the area was reachable by the Western Interior Sea (for more on this mosasaur-dominated environment, see The Oceans of Kansas).

The modern pontosaurus has an unfortunate habit of eating jet-skis. My hypothesis is that it's mistaking the watercraft from underneath for its ancestral, and much-missed, prey of ammonites -- extinct hard-shelled and jet-propelled relatives of octopuses and squid. An understandable mistake, really. This behavior has been a source of concern for Lake Pontoans who worry the low meat-to-petrochemical ratio of jet-skis may be unhealthy.

To help raise awareness for the endangered pontosaurus (and incidentally warn jet-skiers away), I was commissioned by a concerned citizen, Michael Curry, to create the above poster, as well as the following warning symbol to be placed on signs around the lake:

WARNING: PONTOSAUR

Hopefully these will help lessen the death toll, or at least the noise levels. However, Mr. Curry has informed me that the annual Pontoon Boat Parade on the Fourth of July "might be especially dangerous this year, considering that there's been a shortage of the Pontosaurus's natural prey, the red-banded northern jet-skier, and the Pontosaurus may have to resort to other food sources... such as wakeboarders."

End of post.