Museum receives reptile giraffe fossils

November 23, 2007

Bones of a 230 million-year-old "reptile giraffe" found during digs in the Alps' Besano glacier were presented at Milan's Natural History Museum.

While fossils of the Tanystropheus were found previously, those presented to the museum Thursday were exceptionally well-preserved, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

"These skeletons have allowed us to formulate more precise theories" about the species that lived in northern Italy, said Stefania Nosotti, a researcher at the Natural History Museum.

The fossils belonged to three younger "reptile giraffes," so nicknamed because of their long neck which the animal used to approach its prey unnoticed.

Tanystropheus lived in shallow waters but went ashore. On land, they dined on insects and small reptiles while in waters they would feast on fish and mollusks, the researchers said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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