New Fossil: Longnecked Gliding Reptile
A description of a new gliding reptile with a longer neck than expected has been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. From the press release:
"A remarkable new long-necked, gliding reptile discovered in 220 million-year old sediments of eastern north America is described in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (Vol. 27, No. 2), scientists report. Mecistotrachelos apeoros (meaning "soaring, long-necked") is based on two fossils excavated at the Solite Quarry that straddles the Virginia-North Carolina state line." ...
"Fraser said that while two other reptiles with similar gliding membranes are known from the Triassic Period, they have much shorter necks and therefore conform more to the modern gliding lizard, Draco.
"The relationships of Mecistotrachelos are unclear, but Fraser considers that it is probably related to the protorosaurs. Protorosaurs are a group of extinct reptiles characterized by a long-necked, including the bizarre Tanystropheus which had a neck longer than the length of the body and tail combined.
"Because of the nature of the sediments, it was not possible to prepare the fossils by standard mechanical methods and the descriptions are based entirely on CT scans. This technique has only been rarely used to describe new species. Tim Ryan of the Center for Quantitative Imaging at Pennsylvania State University led the work on the CT scanning."