Pre-Dinosaur Reptile Discovered

With its body obscured by murky waters, an ancient fanged reptile may have used its long neck to lunge at fish and squid. The scenario is based on analysis of a 230-million-year-old fossil discovered in southeastern China.

The new creature appeared long before the dinosaurs and is named Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, which means ‘terrible headed lizard from the Orient.’ It was a protorosaur, part of an order of diverse, predatory reptiles that lived as far back as 280 million years ago.

This nearly complete skeleton (top) of a Middle Triassic marine reptile includes a skull and a hind limb that indicate the animal lived mainly in water. This long-necked sea creature (bottom) lived more than 230 million years ago in present-day southeast China and probably fed on fish and squid.






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