Tanystropheus

Name: Tanystropheus‭ (‬Long strap‭)‬.‭
Phonetic: Tan-ee-stro-fee-us‭ .
Named By: Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer‭ ‬-‭ ‬1852.
Synonyms: Tribelesodon,‭ ‬Procerosaurus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Diapsida,‭ ‬Archosauromorpha,‭ ‬Prolacertiformes,‭ ‬Tanystrophidae.
Species: T.‭ ‬conspicuous,‭ ‬T.‭ ‬longbardicus,‭ ‬T.‭ ‬meridensis.‭
Type: Carnivore.
Size: 6‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Europe,‭ ‬Middle East and China.
Time period: Mid Triassic.
Fossil representation: Several Skeletons,‭ ‬many preserved juveniles from Besano Formationin in Italy.

       Taking up half of its total body length,‭ ‬Tanystropheus’s neck is almost inconceivable.‭ ‬Indeed,‭ ‬when Francesco Bassani discovered Tanystropheus remains in‭ ‬1886‭ (‬although he named it Tribelesodon‭)‬,‭ ‬he conceived the extra long neck vertebrae as the wing bones of a pterosaur.‭ ‬It was not until later that the mistake was realised and Tribelesodon became a synonym of Tanystropheus.
       Analysis of Tanystropheus remains and the areas that they are recovered from strongly suggests a life spent on the Triassic shorelines.‭ ‬The teeth are adapted in a way that would enable them to easily snatch marine prey like fish,‭ ‬and the elongated neck would have given it significant each over and under the water.‭ ‬The legs however appear to be more suited for terrestrial locomotion.‭ ‬An interesting feature is that the front legs are shorter than the rear,‭ ‬suggesting that Tanystropheus may have pitched itself forward at the water’s edge for feeding.
       For hunting strategy,‭ ‬it is possible that Tanystropheus visited tidal pools that would have been re-stocked with fresh prey items at high tide that would then in turn be trapped in the pools when the tide receded.‭ ‬This would provide a naturally trapped and easily sought out food supply.‭
       In‭ ‬2006‭ ‬Dr.‭ ‬Silvio Renesto discovered a specimen in Switzerland that appears to display the impressions of soft tissue.‭ ‬One of the main discoveries here is a skin impression that shows Tanystropheus did not have overlapping scales.‭ ‬The other discovery is a dark impression that suggests that there was a significant development of muscle to the rear of Tanystropheus.‭ ‬This counter weight of muscle would have shifted the centre of mass back allowing the neck to move in a more balanced manner.‭ ‬It may have also had a secondary function of giving Tanystropheus great strength to grip onto shoreline rocks.

Further reading
- Übersicht über die Reptilien der Trias" [Review of the Reptilia of the Triassic] - F. von Huene - 1902.
- A new specimen of Tanystropheus (Reptilia Protorosauria) from the Middle Triassic of Switzerland and the ecology of the genus - S. Renesto - 2005.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Random favourites