A Triassic Aquatic Protorosaur with an Extremely Long Neck

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Science  24 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5692, pp. 1931
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100498

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By Middle Triassic time, a number of reptile lineages had diversified in shallow epicontinental seas and intraplatform basins along the margins of parts of Pangea, including the giraffe-necked protorosaurid reptile Tanystropheus from the Western Tethys (Europe and the Middle East), which grew to ~5 to 6 m long. Here we report another long-necked fossil, Dinocephalosaurus, from southwestern China, recently collected in Middle Triassic marine deposits ~230 million years old. This taxon represents unambiguous evidence for a fully aquatic protorosaur. Its extremely elongated neck is explained as an adaptation for aquatic life, perhaps for an increase in feeding efficiency.

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