CGTPL Tanystropheus
Vital statistics
Attributes Insanely long neck and tail; streamlined body; detachable tail; unable to swim efficiently
Diet Other, smaller animals
Fossil finds Asia
Temporal fossil range 235 to 215mya
Other names
Production information
Notable individuals
TV appearances Sea Monsters: Dangerous Seas
Book appearances
This isn't dangerous, but it's surely one of the most preposterous reptiles ever.

Sea Monsters: Dangerous Seas

Tanystropheus was an amphibious reptile from the Triassic. It is famous for its extremely long neck and tail.


Tanystropheus had one of the most preposterous body designs in prehistory. Its abnormally long neck and tail took up three quarters of its total body length. This complex design could not be properly supported on land so chances are that Tanystropheus was a mainly aquatic reptile. One of the only situations were it would leave the water was to procreate.

The neck of Tanystropheus was very rigid and contained only 9 to 12 vertebrae. This restricted it from doing up-and-down motions. However, the animal was capable of doing side-to-side bends. Its neck allowed it to probe into shoals of fish without alarming them and with one swift motion, it would be able to catch a prize.

The body proportions of Tanystropheus made it not a good swimmer. By swishing its tail from side to side, it could have swum through the water, but only at low speed. Judging by this, Tanystropheus probably walked along the seabed rather than swimming.

Tanystropheus' tail was similar to a lizards, in the sense that it could be pulled off easily without causing the animal a great deal of harm. This adaptation was a survival mechanism to help distract predators from attacking the rest of its body. Once detached, the tail would violently spasm involuntarily. The loss of its tail may have also helped it swim better.

Appearances in the programmesEdit

Sea MonstersEdit

The Sixth Deadliest Sea EverEdit

Moments after being investigated by a pair of Nothosaurus, Nigel Marven spotted a Tanystropheus wading between the coral.  As he approached the oddity, Nigel grabbed onto its tail.  As the reptile tried to flee, Nigel tightened his grip.  However, the Tanystropheus' tail was torn off and the creature swam away.  The tail was subsequently eaten by a Cymbospondylus.

Behind the scenesEdit

List of appearancesEdit

Palaeontological inaccuraciesEdit

  • There is no evidence that Tanystropheus' tail could be torn off like a lizard.

Notes and referencesEdit

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