Triassic reptile with a long neck record was the aquatic predator-zaidziam

After examining the skull anistropy, extinct reptile with an incredibly long neck, paleontologists came to the conclusion that she was an aquatic way of life and hunted from ambush. And in the same area have co-existed at least two kinds of tanystropheus: large catching fish and cephalopods, and small — small crustaceans. The results of a study published in a paper in the journal Current Biology.

Tanystropheus (Tanystropheus longobardicus) is among the most amazing extinct reptiles. The main feature of this archosauromorpha, inhabiting the territory of modern Eurasia in the middle and late Triassic (245-228 million years ago), incredibly long neck, which accounted for half of the five-meter body of the animal. While it consisted of only 13 vertebrae, that is was hard.

Lifestyle anistropy long remained for paleontologists mystery. Remains of this genus most often found in coastal sediments, and teeth discovered instances indicate feeding fish. However, whether tanystropheus water predator, or fishing from the shore, using a long neck like a fishing rod, it was unclear. The search for the answer to this question was complicated by the fact that the skulls of the most famous scientists instances badly damaged.

To solve the mystery of anistropy decided a team of researchers led by Stefan Speckmann (Stephan N. F. Spiekman) from the University of Zurich decided to solve the mystery of canisterapie. With the help of computer imaging they examined the crushed skull of this reptile and restored the details of its structure. In addition, the researchers have used three-dimensional printing to create models of the skull.

It turned out that the skull anistropy bears plenty of evidence of adaptation to life in water. The nostrils of the reptile was shifted to the upper side of the snout like a crocodile, and the teeth formed a “crown”, perfectly suited for catching aquatic animals.

In addition, the researchers compared the structure of large (up to five to six meters) and small (up to five feet) copies of canisterapie. Traditionally it was believed that they belong to adult and young individuals respectively. However, paleontologists have discovered the bones of small animals traces of annual rings — this means that they were sexually Mature.

Based on these results the authors concluded that the Triassic on the same territory there existed two types of tanystropheus — small and large. For the first retained the traditional name T. longobardicus, and the second was described as a new species, T. hydroides.

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