Some ancient animals that existed long before humans simply cannot be studied using traditional and relatively simple methods of modern paleoanthropology – and therefore sometimes one has to resort to rather unique and difficult ways to reveal this or that secret about this or that ancient living creature. A good example of such a mystery is the ancient reptile Tanystropheus, whose reptile status has been confirmed only today thanks to a rather multifaceted study by a team of specialists from the Chicago Museum of Natural History, who were able to uncover the secret of this creature, who lived about 242 million years ago.
Of course, relying on standard and common methods of studying the remains of ancient creatures, modern paleontologists can tell a lot of interesting things about habitats, feeding characteristics and evolutionary development of creatures, but in the case of the underwater inhabitant of Tanystropheus, everything was completely different. The fact is that the remains of this ancient creature, originally found in 1852 in Switzerland, were not clear in their origin – having an amazing length and bend, they were mistaken for the processes of the wings or the dorsal region.
However, only now a talented team of paleontologists from the Chicago Museum of Natural History was able to establish that the three-meter bones found are sections of the long neck of this reptile, which had an average length of about six meters and was very similar to modern crocodiles – the last factor of similarity is also indicated by the upper location of the nostrils and the nasal septum, not to mention the unique method of collapsing the jaws.
Experts have established all these scientific facts using quite a few computer scans and 3D simulations to restore the skull and neck of the ancient underwater reptile Tanystropheus – in addition, they established the fact that this reptile somehow laid eggs on land, so you can be sure to say that she belonged to the amphibians, albeit with some biological differences of her own indicative character.