Weird ‘broomstick’ necked Triassic reptile named after mythical Greek sea monster

A Triassic-aged sea monster with “a very long broomstick for a neck,” sharp curved teeth and a crocodile-like snout wasn’t a prima donna; rather, this reptile shared Pangaea’s coastal waters with another long- and stiff-necked beast — one that was so similar-looking, scientists used to think the two predators were the same species. 

Now that it’s clear that these giraffe-like reptiles are two distinct species, scientists chose to name the larger of the two Tanystropheus hydroides, a nod to the hydra, the long-necked mythical sea monster of Greek antiquity. The smaller one kept the preexisting name, Tanystropheus longobardicus.

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