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Thursday, April 25 2024
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240-Million-Year-Old ‘Chinese Dragon’ Found by Scientists

Dragon
Photo Credit : Google

A remarkable discovery of a 240 million year old “Chinese dragon” fossil has been made by scientists in Scotland. The 16-foot-long fossil, according to the BBC, is from a long aquatic reptile that lived during the Triassic epoch. The name Dinocephalosaurus orientalis refers to the species, which is known as the “dragon” due to its extraordinarily long neck. An international team made the discovery, which was on display at National Museums Scotland. According to an ABC News report, the fossil was discovered in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou.
A member of the international team, Dr. Nick Fraser told the BBC that the fossil belonged to “a very strange animal”.

“It had flipper-like limbs and its neck is longer than its body and tail combined,” he added.
The long neck could have allowed Dinocephalosaurus orientalis to search for food in crevices under the water.

“This discovery just adds to the weirdness of the Triassic. And every time we look in these deposits, we find something new,” said Dr Fraser.

Scientists said the animal is similar to Tanystropheus hydroides, a marine reptile from the Middle Triassic period.

“Both reptiles were of similar size and have several features of the skull in common, including a fish-trap type of dentition. However, Dinocephalosaurus is unique in possessing many more vertebrae both in the neck and in the torso, giving the animal a much more snake-like appearance,” ABC News quoted the research team as saying.

The international team also said that the reptile was “clearly very well adapted to an oceanic lifestyle,” as indicated by the flippered limbs and “exquisitely preserved” fishes in its stomach region.

The team includes experts from Scotland, Germany, the United States and China. They studied the fossil over the course of ten years at the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing but made their announcement public on Friday.

The study has been published in the journal ‘Earth and Environmental Science: Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’.

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