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Re: Size of Tanystropheus

Since one of my Hairy Museum posts was referenced in the Wikipedia article, I figured I'd do a little digging to find out where the figure I was using came from. I probably pulled the six-meter figure from elsewhere on the internet (I'd assume (hope?) the now defunct University of Milano page), but a little research comes up with the figure in the following reference:

Tschanz, K. 1988. "Allometry and heterochrony in the growth of the neck of Triassic prolacertiform reptiles," Palaeontology 31: 4 pp. 997-1011

p. 1007-8: "T[anystropheus] longobardicus can grow to up to 6 m in length, while M[acrocnemus] bassanii does not exceed a length of 1 m...Decelerated growth indicates that the neck of Tanystropheus had reached an adaptive limit. Half of the total body length of a 4.5 m long animal was taken up by its neck."

The longest specimen measured in a cursory glance at the paper is T2818 at the Paläontologisches Institut und Museum der Unversität Zürich, with an approximate neck length of 2112.0 mm.

The article can be downloaded here:

Hope this helps -
-Matt Celeskey


On Aug 19, 2009, at 10:34 AM, Mike Taylor wrote:

The Wikipedia article for Tanystropheus:
Says that it attained 6 m, with a 3 m neck.
That's a long more than I'd realised, and way longer than any of the
specimens described by Nosotti (2007).  Predictably, no meaningful
reference is given for this length.  Does anyone out there know where
such an estimate might have come from?  What's the biggest known
specimen, and where was it described?

Thanks in advance.