Researchers have revealed that they have discovered a strange marine reptile believed to have come from the dinosaur’s age. According to Xinhua news agency report, this newly found remains of a short-necked marine reptile date back to 248 million years.
The findings were published in the US journal PLOS ONE, which stated that the fossils, which has been named Eohupehsuchus brevicollis, belongs to Hupehsuchia, a group of mysterious Triassic marine reptiles.
Their name Hupehsuchia has been derived from ‘hupeh’, an alternative spelling of Hubei, and ‘suchus’ the Greek name for the Egyptian crocodile deity Sobek.
According to researchers, this recent discovery could help shed light on how life recovered after the greatest mass extinction in Earth’s history. The research could also give scientists a better understanding of the effects of climate change on the modern environment, they said.
Researchers said that these creatures were odd-looking predators that grew to about 6 feet (2 meters) in size.
Study co-author Ryosuke Motani, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of California, Davis, said, “Hupehsuchia is a group of bizarre marine reptiles unlike anything living today. They had a duck like snout without teeth, a robust body protected by thickened bones, and paddle-shaped limbs”.
Motani said that this creature was first discovered more than 50 years ago. Scientists have very little knowledge about them and they have been puzzling paleontologists for long.
But the recently discovered remains are said to be of the smallest hupehsuchian, which as per scientists reveals that these mysterious reptiles might have diversified more rapidly than previously expected.
This strange marine creature would have survived on a diet of worms and shrimps, and lived in a shallow inland sea, said researchers.