LOOK: This Modern-Day ‘Dinosaur’ Has Social Media Sounding Off

by Lauren Boisvert
(Image Credit: Paul Starosta/Getty Images)

Interested in seeing something cool today? How about a modern-day dinosaur? The sailfin dragon, native to Indonesia and the Philippines, looks just like what its name implies but so much cooler. In a recent post on Twitter, a lot of social media users are seeing this reptile for the first time, expressing their delight and disbelief in the comments.

In the post, a person holds a sailfin dragon on their arm. The reptile is all black, with striking eye color. It has a big fin down its back and tail that looks like a sail, which is most likely where it got its name. Its face looks like something out of “Land Before Time,” though. There’s something about its bone structure that just screams “prehistoric.” We’ve seen iguanas and komodo dragons and other lizards, but none of them really look as close to dinosaurs as this one.

The sailfin dragon even has a dinosaur-like name. It’s also called the hydrosaurus. Twitter users in the comments referenced the dragons in “Game of Thrones,” the creatures in “Pokemon,” and the dimetrodon, a reptile-like animal that lived during the Cisuralian period. Overall, people were excited and shocked by the striking look of this reptile. Have you ever seen something like this before? What would you do if you saw a sailfin dragon just hanging out on your front porch like a Miami iguana?

All About the Hydrosaurus: Modern-Day Dinosaur, or Goth Lizard?

The hydrosaurus, or sailfin dragon, is native to Indonesia and the Philippines, as mentioned above. They were named after the large fin on their tails resembling a sail. They actually look like the sails on Chinese junk ships, which are similar to Philippine karakoa and Indonesian jong ships. Their sails have a wide arch and are fully battened, which are mimicked in the hydrosaurus’ tail fin.

There are actually four species native to Indonesia and one species native to the Philippines. The Hydrosaurus amboinensis, celebensis, microlophus, and weberi live in Indonesia. Meanwhile, only the Hydrosaurus pustulatus lives in the Philippines. They all vary widely in color but they all possess a big tail fin.

The hydrosaurus lives mostly near water, like rivers and mangroves. They can actually run across the water’s surface for short distances using their tail for support. They are typically skittish and can run bipedally to the water, where they then sink and swim to safety. Sailfin dragons can also survive up to an hour underwater, using this skill as protection from land-dwelling predators.

But, maybe because of how cool these guys are, they are considered endangered. They are threatened by both habitat loss and overcollection in the wild animal trade. Some people keep them as pets, but it’s probably best to leave them in the wild. They are protected in the Philippines, which is a good sign that their population could grow.