Scientists have been studying how a prehistoric creature named Tanystropheus supported its insanely long neck.

Scientists have been studying how a prehistoric creature named Tanystropheus supported its insanely long neck.

Fossils of this remarkable reptile, which roamed the planet’s coastal regions some 242 million years ago, were first discovered in the mid 19th-Century.

Since then, palaeontologists have speculated over whether the animal – which had a ridiculously long neck three times the length of its own body – lived predominantly on land or in water.

Now though, a new study by Dr Nick Fraser of National Museums Scotland, and colleagues, has finally shed some light on the mystery.

By using modern high-resolution micro-CT scans of the fossils to construct a detailed computer model of the creature’s skull, the researchers were able to determine that Tanystropheus had nostrils on the top of its snout and teeth designed primarily for trapping fish, indicating that it most likely spent the majority of its life in the water.

This also helps to explain how it was able to support the weight of its huge neck.

That said, it is also likely that the species did spend some time out of the water as well.

“Our group feels that this animal was an aquatic animal most of the time,” said Fraser.

With its incredibly long but relatively stiff neck,Tanystropheus has been often proposed and reconstructed as an aquatic or semi-aquatic reptile, a theory supported by the fact that the creature is most commonly found in semiaquatic fossil sites wherein known terrestrial reptile remains are scarce. Tanystropheus is most often considered to have been piscivorous (or ‘fish-eating’), due to the presence of a long, narrow snout sporting sharp interlocking teeth. In several young specimens, three-cusped cheek teeth are present in the jaw, which might indicate an insectivorous diet; however, similar teeth patterns have been found in Eudimorphodon and Langobardisaurus, both of whom are considered piscivores. Additionally, hooklets from cephalopod tentacles and what may be fish scales have been found near the belly regions of some specimens.

 

 

Related Posts

Cursed Treasure Unearthed: Secrets of an Island Awash in Gold

The idea of finding a cursed treasure on an island full of gold is a popular theme in folklore, literature, and movies. It often involves a valuable…

This Vividly Colored Fish Resembles a Creature from ‘Avatar’

Photos of a vibraпtly-colored fish that looks too flashy to be real have goпe viral oп Japaпese social media, promptiпg maпy to ask if it was the resυlt…

Scientists ѕtᴜппed by Mutant Goat Sporting Four Eyes and Four ᴜпᴜѕᴜаɩ һoгпѕ

Iп tɦe woɾld of ɢenetics, mᴜtаtіoпѕ αre пot uпcommoп. Howeʋer, sometιmes tɦese mᴜtаtіoпѕ cαn leαd to sometɦing tɾuly ᴜпіqᴜe αnd Ьіzаггe. Θne sucɦ exαmple ιs α mutαnt…

An Adrenaline-Fueled Duel: Confronting a Massive King Cobra in a tһгіɩɩіпɡ eпсoᴜпteг

In a pulse-pounding eпсoᴜпteг that pushes the limits of bravery and resilience, individuals find themselves ɩoсked in a teпѕe ѕtгᴜɡɡɩe аɡаіпѕt a fearsome аdⱱeгѕагу – a сoɩoѕѕаɩ…

Chasing the Elusive Behemoth: Humanity’s Grand Adventure in Search of a Mythical 10-Meter, 5-Ton Monster

Garrett Wales is a hunter living in the town of Brock (Texas, USA). Passionate about hunting freshwater monsters, he recently went on a 10-day trip to the…

Perfect fossil of 8ft long ichthyosaur preserved for 180 million years before it was discovered during high-speed railway construction

  The title “Perfect fossil of 8ft long ichthyosaur preserved for 180 million years before it was discovered during high-speed railway construction” unveils a remarkable and captivating…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *