Sunday, January 27, 2013

While Tanystropheus was not strictly marine, its diet was mainly fish and scientists think it spent most of its time in the water. Tanystropheus was a reptile that could reach 20 feet (6m) long, and it is thought to have been alive during the Triassic period nearly 215 million years ago.

Tanystropheus longobardicus, a diapsid reptile from the Middle Triassic, 230 million years ago. Young specimens have relatively short necks, which apparently grew quickly as the animal reached adulthood. Its long neck was more than twice the length of its body and tail, and it apparently attained a total length of 10 feet. Found in marine sediments in Central Europe, Tanystropheus may have been a coastal swimmer that fed on fishes. In the 1970s, Hall discovered a 12-inch reptile with a forked tongue in a marshy area bordering Lake Champlain. It was sent to the University of Vermont, where it was subsequently lost. He later ran across a drawing of Tanystropheus and thought it was very similar. A smaller relative from the Late Triassic, Tanytrachelos, has been found in Virginia.



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