Monster reptile with a neck like a giraffe and nostrils like a crocodile decades did not give rest to scientists. Finally, paleontologists have uncovered the mystery of the animal, as reported in the journal Current Biology.
A creature called tanystropheus (Tanystropheus), could be the godfather of the legendary Loch ness monster in Scotland: he had a similar habitat. The study showed the University of Zurich (UZH, Switzerland), tanystropheus lived in water of about 242 million years ago.
With the help of computer tomography, an international team of paleontologists the bones collected "model" monster of the detected fragments.
They were able to reconstruct the skull in three dimensions, and recreated "portrait" puzzled. The nostrils of anistropy was located on the upper part of the muzzle, as in modern crocodiles. The teeth were long and curved, which made them ideal hunters for catching slippery prey such as fish and squid. However, judging by the limbs and tail, Tanystropheus was not a good swimmer.
Reptile with a length of almost six meters, "probably slowly sailed in troubled waters, secretly approaching its prey" says paleontologist from UZH Stephan Speakman. – Small head and very long neck helped it to remain unnoticed for as long as possible". Neck anistropy was three times longer than the torso. For a long time paleontologists were puzzled where this animal lived on land or in the water. Remains found more than a hundred years ago in the 1000-meter-high mountain of Monte San Giorgio (the border of Switzerland and Italy), hints were not given. And finally, the answer is found.
Scientists have also adjusted the assumption that fossils of anistropy belonged to young and adult individuals of closely related species.
This they found by the annual rings on the bones of small animals (basic trees). And these rings indicate that the small reptiles were adults. According to Spykman, these two types of tanystropheus not competed: small reptiles probably ate shellfish such as crabs, while the larger preyed on large fish and octopus.