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Still Waters

Unusual pterosaur found hidden in wrong group

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Still Waters

A fossilized creature with oddly dark bones has emerged as the first of its name in a newly described line of toothy pterosaurs, paleontologists report in the journal Historical Biology. Dubbed Targaryendraco wiedenrothi, in a nod to the fictional House Targaryen from the blockbuster TV series Game of Thrones, the reptile is the most complete Cretaceous pterosaur known from Germany.

The team also assigned six other already known pterosaurs believed to be close relatives to the newly created Targaryendraconia group. Members of this line had wingspans between 10 and 26 feet and unusually narrow snouts that ended in teeth jutting forward from the tip of the jaw.


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There's actually been some behind-the-scenes controversy related to this. Another group of researchers lead by Sven Sachs was already planning on naming a new genus for this species, but the authors of this paper somehow beat them to it. It's possible they were unaware of the research of Sachs et al., but it's also possible they were perfectly aware and this is another case of taxonomic claim-jumping.

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