This isn't dangerous, but it is surely one of the most preposterous reptiles ever - Tanystropheus.
— Allen, about Tanystropheus

Tanystropheus (name meaning "Long Vertebra") is a genus of prolacertid marine reptile that originated during the Triassic period in what is now China and Europe. Measuring over 6 meters long, its most striking feature was its almost-impossibly long neck and tail that almost defied the laws of physics.


Era & DiscoveryEdit

Tanystropheus lived during the Triassic Period, 235-215 million years ago. It shared the waters with predators like Nothosaurus and Cymbospondylus. Tanystropheus was first discovered by Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer sometime in 1852.

Physical AttributesEdit

Measuring around 20 feet (6 m) long and surprisingly weighing only 300 pounds, Tanystropheus was a medium-sized, quadrupedal marine reptile. It had a small body with short legs. Most of its body comprised of its insanely long neck and tail. On the tip of its neck was a relatively small head with jaws lined with sharp teeth used to grip onto slippery fish.

The neck of Tanystropheus was light blue whilst its body was green. Its tail had black and white stripes.

Behavior & Traits Edit

Tanystropheus is a solitary underwater hunter, getting together with others of its kind during mating season. It used its incredibly long neck to probe into fish shoals and catch prey. However, despite this useful technique, its long neck prohibited it from being a good swimmer.

Tanystropheus lived in shallow waters but came ashore too. On land, Tanystropheus ate insects and small reptiles. And they especially came on land to lay their eggs. In the water, it would gobble up fish and ammonites.

The tail of Tanystropheus was long and acted like that of modern lizards. If a predator caught it by the tail, the Tanystropheus can voluntarily drop its tail to create a diversion as it escapes. This was also useful for the predators as the tail could serve as a decent meal. Additionally, like lizards, Tanystropheus would grow the tail again.


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