Named after the legendary dragon of Chinese folklore, the colossal jiaolong (Basilochelys titanis) is the undisputed ruler of the oceans. Reaching up to 40 meters in length, it even dwarfs the giant blue whales of bygone days. As it is the case with all cervisomids, what appears to be the jiaolong’s long and slender body is actually its neck. The actual body is extremely atrophied and completely encased in a solid shell that protects most vital organs. Only a small part of the digestive system is located inside the shell however as a majority of digestion occurs in the hypertrophied gut-like cervival esophagus - a trait found in all cervisomids.
Unlike most other aquatic cervisomids however, the jialong does not usually use its atrophied shelled body as a fluke. Living in open oceans, it is a slow swimmer that propels itself through the water with the help of two undulating fin fringes running along both sides of its neck. While swimming, the entirety of the neck stays rather rigid, only moving ever so slightly to change directions. As their enormous size prevents them from coming ashore to lay eggs, jialongs gives live birth to their young.
While adult jiaolongs most commonly live alone, their young -who still have to fear predators- sometimes form small groups of two to six individuals.
My thought was that a dermochelydid might be a fine filter feeder if its throat structures were to become finer and filamentous? Might be an okay lunge feeder I guess if it underwent a few changes here and there.
I haven't seen a body plan as creative as this in a long time! Tell me though, what does it eat? Blue whales spend all their time stuffing themselves with krill and other planktic organisms just to maintain their size, and this fella has a pretty small maw...