The newly discovered triassic lizard floats underwater to pick up prey

The newly discovered triassic lizard floats underwater to pick up prey

About 240 million years ago, the skull of the Triassic predator Brevicudosaurus jianxhanensis, approx. Immobile, at sea – Researchers have found clues in its skeleton that explain its unusual hunting methods.

Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Scientists in Beijing and the Canadian Museum of Nature Two skeletons found in a thin layer of limestone in two quarries in southwest China were studied in Ottawa. The most complete skeleton, less than 60 cm long, was found in a quarry in Jiangshan.

Experts have identified the 240-million-year-old fossils as previously unknown notosers: small-headed marine reptiles, horns, flipper-like limbs, and long necks. In general, nocturnal animals had long tails, which experts believe were used for propulsion – but newly discovered reptiles had short and flat tails.

The reptile’s forelegs are more developed than its limbs, and could play a role in helping the animal swim, the researchers said. With thick and dense bones – including the vertebrae and ribs – it is strong and visually appealing.

What’s more, Brevicudosorus jiangoshenensis was not a fast swimmer, experts believe based on the evidence. However, its dense bones may have given it an advantage: stability. The thicker, higher-mass bones were able to keep it neutral in shallow water, and with the help of a flat tail, the hunter could move submergedly underwater while using less energy.

Stealth hunter

This animal, with its neutral oyster energy, could move to the beach in search of food.

“Our analysis of the two well-preserved skeletons reveals a reptile with a broad, pachystotic body (and dense bone) and a very short and flat tail,” said Qing-Hua Zhang, co-author of the paleontology study at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In a statement. “A long tail can be used to float in water and create productivity, but the new species we have identified is ideal for hanging at the bottom of shallow seas, with its short and flat tail symmetrical as underwater, allowing it to conserve energy while searching for prey,” Zhang added.

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Reptiles are well suited for underwater hunting: the neutral boenzy must be able to walk on the beach in search of slow-moving prey. At the same time, the high density of skeletal ribs indicated that the reptiles had larger lungs, which increases the time it takes for the species to appear.

Paleontologists have found another feature that helps brevicodosaurus in underwater exploitation: this animal had thick, long steps – bar-shaped bones in the middle ear, used for sound transmission – that help reptiles hear on the surface.

Xiao-chun Wu, co-author and paleobiologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, said: , In a statement.

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