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A long-necked sea predator from China described in Science

ng strategy that would have required participation from the pliable ribs that ran along the sides of the neck. Contraction of Dinocephalosaurus' proposed neck muscles could have rapidly straightened the neck and splayed the neck ribs outward. This could have increased throat volume enough to allow the animal to swallow the pressure wave that it created as its head lunged forward though the water. By swallowing its own pressure wake that would otherwise signal its approach, the predator may have executed almost undetectable strikes at unsuspecting fish.

While it's difficult to add muscles to a fossil when there is little or no evidence for muscles in the fossil record, and even tougher when the fossil has no living counterpart, Rieppel said their ideas are based on the preserved bone structures, biomechanics and the complexities of hunting in water, a dense medium that can alert prey to a predator's presence long before it strikes.


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Contact: Jessica Lawrence-Hurt
jlawrenc@aaas.org
1-202-326-7088
American Association for the Advancement of Science
23-Sep-2004


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