Mesozoic Earth ] Back | Next >

Location
 Asia
 230 million years ago

Mean atmospheric O2
 80% of modern level

Mean atmospheric CO2
 6x pre-industrial level

Mean temperature
 3C above modern level

 

Mesozoic Earth - A pair of long-necked Tanystropheus in an ocean bay 230 years ago in what is today Asia; archosaus; Tanystropheidae; aquatic reptiles; semi-aquatic reptiles; piscivores - Natural History Illustration Geologic Time Scale

 Era: Mesozoic
  Period: Triassic
   Epoch: Middle
    Age: Ladinian

     
 

Tanystropheus

A pair of 20-foot-long, 300 pound reptiles of the genus Tanystropheus swim in an ocean bay 230 million years ago in what is today China. On the shore are a pair of 6-foot-long bipedal basal saurischian dinosaurs and beyond them on the horizon are 60-foot-tall araucarians, an ancient family of coniferous trees. Horsetails and ferns flourish near the water.

Tanystropheus was not a dinosaur, rather it was an ancient marine reptile, an archosaur, that hunted ocean shores at a time when true dinosaurs were only making their first appearance on land.

Tanystropheus was likely a fish-eater due to its long, narrow snout and sharp interlocking teeth typical of marine predators. Tanystropheus had an extraordinarily long neck, as long as its body and tail combined, though with only ten vertebrae it was likely not very flexible. Here Tanystropheus are shown extending their head and necks fully out of the water, which may have indeed been possible due to a heavy and muscular counter-balancing tail.

 

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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