September 23, 2004

Stealth dinosaur

Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, a long-necked sea reptile that probably preyed on fish and squid in a shallow sea in present-day southeastern China more than 230 million years ago, may have been Earth's first stealth hunter:
The strike would have come out of nowhere: One second, the fish was swimming placidly, no danger in sight, a moment later it was lunch.

Scientists have discovered what may have been one of the first stealth hunters, a long-necked swimming dinosaur that could sneak up on prey and attack without warning.

“The long neck would allow it to approach prey without the whole body becoming visible,” said Olivier Rieppel of the Field Museum in Chicago, co-author of a new report in Thursday's issue of the journal, Science.

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