- Researchers have grafted the bones and life of an ancient lizard with an incredibly long neck.
- Tanystropheus hydroides has a neck nearly half the length of its body, and it can give the animal many advantages.
- The lizard can live underwater and hunt for coastal animals or fish with its long jaws.
Dinosaurs can be quite weird. Finding fossils of a creature that lived millions of years ago often led paleontologists to try to understand how the animal lived, how it hunted and what it ate. In the case of organisms of the Tanystropheus family, the fossils are so bizarre that they almost disregard the explanation, but a new study has sought to reassemble some aspects of the life of foreign organisms.
These animals are reptiles with an extremely long neck and tail. The animal̵7;s neck occupies almost half of its body length, which can extend up to 16 feet. They may look cartoonish, but their bodies may have given them their own advantages when hunting.
As ScienceAlert Report, researchers have studied fossils of organisms that have had great difficulty embracing what they are seeing. Some large creatures, while others are much smaller but have almost the same neck-to-body ratio, suggest they may be offspring of the same species.
After further examination of the bones, the scientists were able to determine that the smaller specimens were a completely different species, but closely related. But that is just one of many questions researchers have asked to answer.
Another pressing issue is determining the habitat of this reptile. With such long necks, the animals can stay home underwater or use their incredible reach on land. To answer this question, the scientists had to transplant the crushed skull of one of the specimens together. They did so using 3D scans and modeling, allowing them to rebuild the skull and learn more about animal adaptations.
Once this was done, something became quite clear: The creatures certainly liked it underwater. With a skull shape that makes it easy to capture fish and other aquatic prey, and with its nostrils on its snout, this animal seems well suited to aquatic life.
Its giant neck can make it easy to hunt under water or even poke its head above the water to detect risky prey too close to shore. Either way, these creatures are incredibly unique and if you happened to swim in shallow water some 242 million years ago, you might have encountered one. It probably won’t end well for you.