April 15, 2024

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Dinocephalosaurus Orientalis: Researchers Find Complete Fossil


ScotlandScientists have discovered a 240-million-year-old “dragon” fossil

Dinocephalosaurus orientalis was first identified ten years ago. The discovery of an almost complete fossil now allows us to draw more conclusions about the strange animal.

Benedict Holenstein
  • Since the first discoveries, little has been known about Dinocephalosaurus orientalis.

  • A fossil discovered in China could provide long-awaited answers.

  • According to researchers, the animal's neck was longer than its body and tail combined.

“A very strange animal” is how Nick Fraser of the National Scottish Museum describes what he calls Dinocephalosaurus orientalis. A paleontologist was one of the first researchers to study a full-scale fossil of an animal.

“Dragon” is longer than expected

Dinocephalosaurus was first discovered in 2002 in southern China. At the time, researchers found only a small specimen and nicknamed the extinct reptile the “dragon” because of its long neck – but an almost perfectly preserved fossil, now found in southern China, was significantly larger at five meters. is long.

The fossil is 240 million years old and is characterized by its pinball-like snout and neck longer than the body and tail combined. Scientists now believe the nearly complete fossil will provide new insights into the strange reptile, whose scientific name Dinocephalosaurus means “terrible-headed reptile” or “terrible-headed reptile” in German.

That's why Dinocephalosaurus had such a long neck

Researchers theorize that Dinocephalosaurus may have had an advantage when hunting due to its extremely long neck with 32 vertebrae, for example by sticking its head into crevices and undersea caves that no other predator could reach.

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“The Triassic made this discovery [Zeitskala von 251 Millionen Jahre bis 201 Millionen Jahre vor heute, Anm. d. Red.] “It's still strange,” said the doctor. Fraser told BBC News. “Every time we look at these deposits, we discover something new.”

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