Discovery of a 240 million year old Chinese dragon fossil Discovery of a 240 million year old Chinese dragon fossil

Discovery of a 240 million year old Chinese dragon fossil

Discovery of a 240 million year old Chinese dragon fossil

A team of scientists announced that they have discovered the fossilized remains of a 240-million-year-old reptile that lived in water, and is called the "Chinese Dragon."

This ancient creature was named "the dragon" because of its snake-like appearance. The “Chinese” is because it is found in China.

Although the fossilized skeleton was found curled up, studies indicate that it may have been about five meters (or 16.4 feet) long from nose to tail.

However, its bones were not the only ones found in fossil discoveries, as well-preserved fish bones were found in its stomach area, indicating that this reptile was an aquatic predator.

This creature, whose scientific name is Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, had an exceptionally long neck, and scientists counted 32 separate bones from the neck vertebrae.

Nick Fraser, a natural sciences keeper at the National Museums of Scotland, told BBC News that the specimen represents a "very strange animal".

By comparison, most mammals have only seven vertebrae in the neck, and even the famous long-necked brachiosaurus had only 13. This unique anatomy made the animal's neck longer than its body and tail combined.

Scientists pointed out that Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, with its long neck, is compared to another strange marine reptile called Tanystropheus hydroides.

This prehistoric beast lived at the same time - the Middle Triassic - in what is now Europe and China.

A statement said: “Both reptiles were similar in size and had many common cranial features, including a fish cage-like type of teeth. However, Dinocephalosaurus is unique in having multiple vertebrae in the neck and torso, giving the animal a fish-like appearance. "With the snake."

The "Chinese Dragon" was originally identified in 2003, but scientists have not been able to determine its true length until now, as fewer vertebrae were found during the initial excavation.

In addition to the long neck and fish-filled belly, Dinocephalosaurus orientalis also appears to have fins.

Scientists suspect that it was a stealthy hunter, sneaking up on its prey before snatching it with its mouth full of sharp teeth.

Dinocephalosaurus was a viviparous dinocephalosaurus (meaning it gave birth to live young rather than laying eggs), explains Dr. Stefan Spykmann, a specialist in long-necked marine reptiles at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart.

Despite superficial similarities to long-necked pleisiosaurs, which evolved about 40 million years after Dinocephalosaurus and served as inspiration for the Loch Neslem monster, scientists said Dinocephalosaurus was in fact not closely related to plesiosaurs.

During the recent study, an international team from Scotland, Germany, China and the United States studied Dinocephalosaurus orientalis fossils for a decade before announcing their findings, which were published in the journal Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Scientists hope to gain more insights into the evolution of this group of animals through further investigations in the future, particularly about the precise function of the long neck in marine reptiles.
 

Russia : Innovating a new way to combat drought

Russian scientists have invented a new way to combat drought, allowing the cost of chemicals and water to be reduced by 25 percent by adding biochar and microbes to the soil.

Scientist Vishnu Dayal Rajput, a scientific researcher at the Academy of Biology and Biotechnology at the Southern Federal University, said in an interview with the newspaper "Izvestia" that biochar is wood charcoal that is added to the soil to increase fertility.

According to him, adding biochar, microbes and fungi improves the microbial function of the soil and promotes plant growth.

“Rhizobacteria and fungi showed enhanced plant growth behavior even under drought conditions,” he says. “The addition of biochar activated all these mechanisms and provided a better environment for growth. The use of rhizosymbiont fungi provides nutrients, such as phosphate and nitrogen, to the host plant.”

A source at the university points out that the mixture of rhizobacteria and plant-stimulating fungi in biochar can be used directly in the soil, because biochar reduces the impact of climate change.

According to the researchers, the main advantage of this technology is that biochar uses biomass to capture and store carbon instead of direct combustion.

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