The Triassic Period was a time of evolutionary experimentation among reptiles. A newly discovered Triassic reptile from Poland described by Jerzy Dzik and Tomasz Sulej shows bizarre body proportions that suggest it was glider that bore a wing-membrane on its long legs.
The reptile, named Ozimek volans, was discovered in rocks at a former clay pit at Krasiejów, Poland. The rocks were deposited as mud at the bottom of a lake about 230 million years ago. Ozimek is known from several specimens in various stages of decomposition, including several curled up specimens that may represent bones that were defecated or regurgitated by predators. No specimen represents a complete skeleton, but in total they preserve portions of the skull, most of the neck and trunk vertebrae, the base of the tail, ribs, the shoulders and forelimbs, and the hips and hindlimbs. Total length from the snout to tail base is about 40 cm (16 inches). Most of the tail is unknown, but may have made up more than half the total body length. Ozimek is named for a nearby town, and the species name, volans, is Latin for flying.
Ozimek's skull is known from portions of the upper jaw, the region around the eye, temples, and the jaw joint, as well as significant parts of the lower jaw. Although incomplete, the skull shows that Ozimek has closely-packed, sharp, conical teeth, indicating a carnivorous or omnivorous diet. The temporal region shows that Ozimek had two temporal openings on both sides of its skull, indicating that it was a diapsid, a member of a large and diverse group of animals that includes every living reptile and bird. Ozimek has a remarkably long neck, made up of just seven long vertebrae. The length of the neck is approximately the same length as the trunk.