New Flying Reptile Found in “Unprecedented” Pterosaur Boneyard

Aug 17, 2014

By Christine Dell’Amore

 

Nearly 50 skeletons of a new species of ancient flying reptile have been unearthed in southern Brazil, an “absolutely unprecedented” discovery, one expert says.

Varying ages of the newfound species, dubbedCaiuajara dobruskii, fill the rare boneyard, which was once part of a desert lake in the late Cretaceous period, about 100 million to 66 million years ago. With a wingspan of up to 7.7 feet (2.35 meters) C. dobruskii had a head that was shaped differently from those of other pterosaurs, including a bony protrusion in front of its eyes. (See “New Golden Age for Pterosaurs, Flying Reptiles of the Dinosaur Era.”)

The discovery offers the “best evidence ever uncovered” that the extinct dinosaur-era animals, called pterosaurs, may have lived in colonies, said study author Alexander Kellner, a paleontologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

It also offers a new window into how the animals—the first vertebrates to fly—developed into adults.

Finding such an intact fossil site is unusual—though pterosaurs were found on every continent, their fragile wing bones do not preserve well. What’s more, most pterosaur remains have been found near what was once oceans or lagoons, not desert.

5 comments on “New Flying Reptile Found in “Unprecedented” Pterosaur Boneyard

  • Varying ages of the newfound species, dubbedCaiuajara dobruskii, fill the rare boneyard, which was once part of a desert lake in the late Cretaceous period, about 100 million to 66 million years ago.

    Finding such an intact fossil site is unusual—though pterosaurs were found on every continent, their fragile wing bones do not preserve well. What’s more, most pterosaur remains have been found near what was once oceans or lagoons, not desert.

    Ah! Those rare fossil forming conditions which give us the preserved evidence of past life-forms!



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  • @ A4D

    Varying ages

    If I read the PLOS One report correctly, only a few adults were found.

    rare fossil forming condition

    Report touches on that. Funny, I thought of Pterosaurs as loners, such as red-tailed hawks. But their research indicates they more than likely lived in groups, such as Flamingos. Thanks science!



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  • “most pterosaur remains have been found near what was once oceans or lagoons, not desert.”

    Maybe the desert was once a lake and dried up rapidly. Maybe that is why mainly juveniles and infants were found. The adults that could have left for a more distant water source.
    Also like flamingos in Africa.



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  • Re this line “What’s more, most pterosaur remains have been found near what was once oceans or lagoons, not desert.” But they were found near a Lake in a desert area…



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