About 240 million years ago, massive oceanic reptiles called nothosaurs dominated the seas. They looked like the mutant offspring of a trihybrid cross between the Loch Ness monster, an alligator and a T. rex. The beasts had long tails to slither underwater, jaws packed with razor-sharp teeth and flipper-like limbs to propel themselves through the water.
When a team of paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Scientists and Canadian Museum of Nature discovered two small, similar fossils in quarries in southwest China, the scientists originally thought they belonged to juvenile nothosaurs. Further analysis revealed that they actually discovered a new species—the nothosaur’s smaller, stockier cousin. The team’s findings were published last week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, reports Science News’ Aayushi Pratap.
The team named the newly unearthed reptile Brevicaudosaurus jiyangshanensis, which roughly means “short-tailed lizard of Jiyangshan,” the quarry it was found in, according to