The oldest long-necked marine reptile, 247 million years old, has been discovered.

Anastasia Kryshchuk

The oldest long-necked marine reptile, 247 million years old, has been discovered.
Ancient marine reptile. Source: Image created with the help of AI

Scientists have discovered the oldest marine lizard, Trachelosaurus fischeri, which existed approximately 247 million years ago. This creature, which has long been a mystery to the scientific world, has finally revealed its secrets thanks to the latest research.

According to IflScience, the remains of T. fischeri, which were discovered in Germany in 1918, have caused numerous debates and misunderstandings among scientists over the years. Historical records indicated that this lizard had an elongated neck and a small head, but its exact classification and identification have changed over time.

The oldest long-necked marine reptile, 247 million years old, has been discovered.
Confusion and controversy surrounds the Trachelosaurus fischeri fossil due to the scattered arrangement of bones. Source: Spiekman et al., Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 2024

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Recent scientific discoveries confirm that T. fischeri belongs to a category of reptiles known as Tanysauria. Researchers have found that T. fischeri is related to Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, another species of marine reptile that existed during the same time period. Interestingly, T. fischeri was analyzed using museum exhibits, which emphasizes the importance of preserving and studying such historical finds.

An in-depth comparative study has shown that these two species of foot-and-mouth disease have close family ties, which confirms the marine origin of Trachelosaurus fischeri. This indicates that this species is one of the oldest representatives of long-necked marine reptiles that appeared on the planet long before the appearance of tanystrophaeids, plesiosaurs, and other Mesozoic marine lizards with a similar structure.

Studies also indicate that the beginning of the Triassic period was key to the evolution of new reptile species, both in the aquatic environment and on land. The study of such artifacts plays an important role in understanding evolutionary processes on Earth and its history. Thus, T. fischeri is an important witness of the past that helps us to unlock the secrets of the development of living organisms and the history of our planet.

Earlier, we told you that two new species of dinosaurs previously unknown to science were found in North America.

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