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Still Waters

Huge pterosaur found in fire-struck museum

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Still Waters

When an inferno razed the former palace that housed Brazil’s Museu Nacional in 2018, it damaged millions of valuable artifacts, including many globally significant fossils. But now, a 70-million-year-old bone retrieved from the rubble is offering scientists a ray of hope.

Together with a second bone that was in a building unaffected by the fire, this fossil represents the first evidence that pterosaurs ruled the skies above Antarctica as the age of dinosaurs drew to a close.

Collected from Vega Island in the Antarctic Peninsula, the rescued fossil belonged to either an azhdarchid or pteranodontian pterosaur, two varieties that were common during the late Cretaceous period.


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