The newly discovered Triassic lizard can float underwater and catch prey.

The newly discovered Triassic lizard can float underwater and catch prey.

Brevicaudosaurus jiyangshanensis, a Triassic predator about 240 million years ago, almost In the motionless sea, researchers found clues that could explain the unusual hunting method in its skeleton.

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

Experts have identified the 240 million-year-old remains as a previously unknown species of Nothosaurs. Small headed marine reptiles with fangs, fin-like limbs and long neck. In general, nothosaurs have a long tail, and experts believe that it was used for propulsion, but the newly discovered reptiles had a short, flat tail.

The reptiles’ forelimbs are more developed than their hind limbs and may play a role in helping animals swim, the researchers noted. It was most likely sturdy and sturdy due to thick and dense bones, including the spine and ribs.

What else, Experts believe that, according to the evidence, Brevicaudosaurus jiyangshanensis was not necessarily a fast swimmer. However, dense bones may have provided the benefit of stability. The thick, massive bones were able to create neutral buoyancy in shallow water, and thanks to the flat tail, predators could float in the water without moving, using less energy.

Stealth hunter

Researchers also believe that this creature can use neutral buoyancy to stalk the seabed for its next meal.

Qing-Hua Shang, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that research co-author Qing-Hua Shang said, “An analysis of two well-preserved skeletons showed that a pachystotic body (a wider, denser) body (a dense bone). Han) and found a reptile with a very short, flat tail. Statement. “The long tail can be used to bounce water to generate thrust, but the new species we have identified is shallow, using a short, flat tail for balance, like underwater. It would have been more suitable for hanging out near the bottom of the sea. It can conserve energy while looking for food. “Shang added.

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This reptile was very suitable for underwater hunting. Due to its neutral buoyancy, it had to be able to walk on the seafloor in search of slow-moving prey. Meanwhile, the high-density ribs of the skeleton suggests that reptiles have large lungs that increase the time they can spend without floating on the surface of the paper.

Paleontologists discovered another feature that helped Brevichodosaurus to engage in underwater activities, which also had a thick, long spine (a rod-shaped bone in the middle ear, used for sound transmission), which is why reptiles Could have helped to hear from below the surface.

Xiao-Chun Wu, a paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, said, “Perhaps this small, slow-swimming marine reptile, when floating in shallow water, should not only have to be vigilant against large predators, but also become predators themselves.” , A statement.

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