Big Gulp? Neck ribs may have given aquatic beast unique feeding style | Science News

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Big Gulp? Neck ribs may have given aquatic beast unique feeding style

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11:00am, September 22, 2004

The fossilized neck bones of a 230-million-year-old sea creature have features suggesting that the animal's snakelike throat could flare open and create suction that would pull in prey. Such a feeding strategy has never before been proposed for an ancient aquatic reptile.

Paleontologists working in southern China recently unearthed the partial remains of Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, which translates as "terrible-headed lizard from the Orient." The trunk of the creature's body was less than 1 meter long, but its neck had 25 vertebrae and measured 1.7 m, says Olivier Rieppel, a paleontologist at the Field Museum in Chicago. Like other members of the reptile g

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