Dinocephalosaurus orientalis and the 12 months of the Dragon

A staff of scientists have described new specimens of Dinocephalosaurus orientalis a weird, Triassic marine reptile. First scientifically described in 2003 (Li Chun), this new examine has permitted scientists to assemble the large neck of this animal intimately.

Measuring as much as 5 metres in size, Dinocephalosaurus orientalis had a particularly lengthy and versatile neck. The neck incorporates a complete of thirty-two vertebrae. Tanystropheus in distinction, had 13 cervical vertebrae. In some specimens the neck is 1.7 metres in size. It’s for much longer than the animal’s torso. The researchers evaluate D. orientalis to the Tanystropheus taxon. Tanystropheus is thought from the Center Triassic of Europe and China. While Tanystropheus and Dinocephalosaurus had related physique shapes, these reptiles weren’t carefully associated. The lengthy necks seen in these two taxa are an instance of convergent evolution.

Dinocephalosaurus orientalis life reconstruction.
Dinocephalosaurus orientalis swimming amongst some prehistoric fish referred to as Saurichthys. Image credit score: Marlene Donelly.

Dinocephalosaurus orientalis A Exceptional Marine Reptile

The scientific paper describing the animal is printed in full within the tutorial journal Earth and Environmental Science: Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh – forming the whole lot of the most recent quantity.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Editor-in-Chief of the RSE’s tutorial journal Transactions, Professor Robert Ellam FRSE commented:

“This outstanding marine reptile is one other instance of the gorgeous fossils that proceed to be found in China”.

Comparisons with Tanystropheus

Each reptiles had been of comparable dimension and have a number of options of the cranium in frequent, together with a fish-trap sort of dentition. Nevertheless, Dinocephalosaurus is exclusive in possessing a number of extra vertebrae each within the neck and within the torso, giving the animal a way more snake-like look. The neck of Dinocephalosaurus was extra versatile than the neck of Tanystropheus. The fossils analysed within the newly printed paper come from the Guizhou Province of China.

Dinocephalosaurus orientalis fossil specimen.
A virtually full and articulated specimen of Dinocephalosaurus orientalis. Image credit score: The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Dr Nick Fraser FRSE, Keeper of Pure Sciences at Nationwide Museums Scotland said:

“This discovery permits us to see this outstanding long-necked animal in full for the very first time. It’s but yet one more instance of the strange world of the Triassic that continues to baffle palaeontologists. We’re sure that it’ll seize imaginations throughout the globe because of its hanging look, harking back to the lengthy and snake-like, legendary Chinese language Dragon.”

Applicable for the “12 months of the Dragon”

As now we have now entered the Chinese language “12 months of the Dragon”, a brand new scientific paper on a Chinese language reptile that superficially resembled a legendary dragon is very applicable. The fossils had been studied over a interval of ten years by researchers from Scotland, China, America and Germany.

Professor Li Chun from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in China, the scientist who initially described Dinocephalosaurus orientalis mentioned:

“This has been a global effort. Working along with colleagues from the US of America, the UK and Europe, we used newly found specimens housed on the Chinese language Academy of Sciences to construct on our current information of this animal. Amongst all the extraordinary finds now we have made within the Triassic of Guizhou Province, Dinocephalosaurus in all probability stands out as probably the most outstanding.”

Scientists suggest that Dinocephalosaurus was fantastically tailored to its marine surroundings. Given the size of its neck, transferring on land would have been troublesome. A outstanding fossil described in 2017 revealed that Dinocephalosaurus was viviparous (dwell beginning). This stays the one file of viviparity related to the Archosauromorpha.

To learn All the things Dinosaur’s weblog put up about this discovery: First Proof of Reside Delivery in Historical Dinosaur Relative.

Dinocephalosaurus orientalis – Vital Fossil Discoveries

Dr Stephan Spiekman, a postdoctoral researcher based mostly on the Stuttgart State Museum of Pure Historical past, commented:

“As an early-career researcher, it has been an unbelievable expertise to contribute to those vital findings. We hope that our future analysis will assist us perceive extra in regards to the evolution of this group of animals, and notably how the elongate neck functioned.”

The paper describing the animal is printed in full within the tutorial journal Earth and Environmental Science: Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh – forming the whole lot of the most recent quantity. The journal was first printed in 1788.

All the things Dinosaur acknowledges the help of media releases from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Nationwide Museums Scotland within the compilation of this text.

Go to the All the things Dinosaur web site: All the things Dinosaur.

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