It is likely that Tanystropheus was an aquatic hunter. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Nobu Tamura
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.
Source: The Guardian | Comments (7)