A 240-million-year-old “dragon” fossil discovered in southern China

Scientists have discovered a complete new fossil, a 5-meter-long aquatic reptile from the Triassic period.

The fossil is 2440 million years old PHOTO: National Museums Scotland

The creature dates back 240 million years and has been dubbed “dragon” because of his extremely long neck, writes bbc.com.

It's called Dinocephalosaurus orientalis, a species that was originally identified in 2003.

This spectacular new fossil has allowed scientists to see the full anatomy of this bizarre prehistoric beast.

Dr Nick Fraser, from National Museums Scotland, who was part of the international team that studied the fossil, said it was the first time scientists had been able to see it in its entirety. He described her as “a very strange animal”.

“It had fin-like limbs, and its neck was longer than its body and tail combined,” he said.

The researcher speculated that a “long, bent and flexible neck” it could have provided a hunting advantage – allowing Dinocephalosaurus orientalis to forage in underwater crevices.

The fossil was discovered in ancient limestone deposits in southern China.

“This discovery only adds to the strangeness of the Triassic”Dr Fraser told BBC News. “And every time we look into these warehouses, we find something new.”