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See 240-million-year-old “dragon” image revealed by scientists

See 240-million-year-old “dragon” image revealed by scientists

(CNN)- Fossils Freshly A 240-million-year-old “dragon” has allowed scientists to fully reveal it, the National Museum of Scotland (NMS) said in a statement this Friday.

The five-meter-long reptile, from the Triassic period in China, was first discovered in 2003. However, after examining five recent specimens over a period of ten years, scientists were finally able to depict the entire organism, which bears its name. Dinocephalosaurus orientalis.

The fully articulated fossil, finally brought to light, “provided a pretty complete specimen from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail,” Dr. Nick Fraser, the NMS's national science officer and one of the researchers, said in an interview. With CNN.

“It's kind of curled up in a figure eight and … it's very reminiscent of a Chinese dragon,” he explained.

The fossil helped shed light on the mysterious creature, and an international team of researchers from Scotland, Germany, the United States and China published their findings in the journal Transactions of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The fossils were first discovered in 2003 by Li Chun, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology. He was visiting a small village in southern China's Guizhou Province when he found a small spine on a chalkboard. Fellow Fraser.

Local farmers took Chun to another location where there were other pieces of that type of rock, and he found pieces of bone and pieced them together to begin discovering this new species, Fraser added.

Dragon statue

Artistic illustration of an ancient sea creature. (Credit: Marlene Donelly)

Now, the most recent fossils indicate that the creature had 32 vertebrae, which made for a very long neck that may have helped it fish, although scientists are still unsure of its precise function.

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“I'm still confused by the long neck function,” Fraser said. “The only thing I can think of is that they were feeding in water that had rocks and cracks in them. “They probe their long necks and move towards some of these crevices and catch prey that way,” he said.

The fish is still preserved in the abdominal region of a fossil, indicating that it was well-adapted to a marine environment, and its fin joints reinforce that hypothesis, the researchers explained in their paper.

They added that it was a long neck Dinocephalosaurus This is another ancient and equally enigmatic marine reptile, The Tanistropius hydrides.

“As mythologists, we use modern analogies to understand past life Dinocephalosaurus And Dannistropheus, there is no modern analogue,” Fraser said. Researchers can compare creatures like ichthyosaurs to their modern counterparts, such as tuna and dolphins.

“So, like many animals in the Triassic, we still have some hurdles to overcome, because it's a strange and wonderful world of all kinds of strange animals doing things that animals don't do today.”