February 23, 2024

New Details of “Chinese Dragon” Fossil Emerge

Palaeontologists have revealed new information about the Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, a six-metre-long marine reptile from the Triassic period that resembles a dragon.

While the first specimen was originally identified back in 2003 in southern China, a recently discovered new fossil has given researchers a clearer idea of what the creature would have looked like. The reptile is believed to have lived 240 million years ago, with its 32 separate cervical vertebrae extending into an exceptionally long neck.

Scientists shared their findings with the world today, Friday 23 February. Dr Nick Fraser, keeper of natural sciences at National Museums Scotland, described the beast as “a very strange animal”.

“The discovery allows us to see this remarkable long-necked marine reptile in full for the very first time,” he told an international publication before he added: “It is yet one more example of the weird and wonderful world of the Triassic that continues to baffle palaeontologists.”

Fraser went on to explain: “It had flipper-like limbs and its neck is longer than its body and tail combined.” The scientist also speculated that the reptile’s anatomy may have allowed it to search crevices underwater, providing a natural hunting advantage.

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