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Scientists Uncover 240 Million Year Old Naga-Like Fossil in Triassic Period


Fossil-Newly discovered fossils have allowed scientists to uncover similar animals naga 240 million years old overall for the first time. Scientists from National Museums Scotland were amazed by this animal.

The 5-meter-long reptile from the Triassic period in China was first identified in 2003. Now, after studying five new specimens over 10 years, scientists have been able to describe the entire creature, which has been named Dinocephalosaurus orientalis.

According to Dr Nick Fraser from NMS and one of the researchers, one of the fossils is a beautiful, complete specimen from nose to tail. “Its shape is circular like a figure eight and… very reminiscent of a Chinese dragon,” he was quoted as saying detikINET from CNN.


The fossil helped shed light on this mysterious creature and an international team of researchers from Scotland, Germany, the United States and China published their findings in the journal Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

This aquatic reptile is nicknamed the dragon because its neck is very long. Dr Nick Fraser called it a very strange animal. “It has fin-like limbs and its neck is longer than its body and tail combined,” he said.

Illustration of Dinocephalosaurus orientalis when it still existed. Photo: BBC

Professor Li Chun from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing was the first to discover the fossil in 2003. He visited a small village in Guizhou Province and discovered a small vertebra in a limestone slab.

Now, new fossils show that the creature had 32 vertebrae, creating an extremely long neck that likely helped it catch fish. But scientists are still not surprised and confused about its exact function.

“I’m still confused about the function of their long necks. The only thing I can figure out is that they feed in waters that have rocks and maybe gaps in them. And they use their long necks to probe and move into some of these gaps and maybe look for prey that way,” he said.

There was fish prey still preserved in the stomach of one of the fossils, suggesting it was well adapted to the marine environment, and its fins support that hypothesis. Dinocephalosaurus’ long neck is similar to the ancient marine reptile Tanystropheus hydroides which is also confusing.

“As paleontologists, we use modern-day analogies to understand past life. For Dinocephalosaurus and Tanystropheus, there are no modern-day analogues,” Fraser said.

“So we’re still fighting quite hard, as we did with many animals in the Triassic, because this was a strange and wonderful world where all kinds of strange animals did things that animals today don’t seem to do,” he concluded.

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2024-02-24 05:30:51
#Dragonlike #Fossils #China #Scientists #Amazed

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