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Palaeontology

New species of tiny pterosaur discovered

By T.K. Randall
September 1, 2016 · Comment icon 2 comments

Pterosaurs came in many different shapes and sizes. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 HombreDHojalata
A flying reptile with a wingspan of only 1.5 meters has been identified from fossils found in Canada.
The new pterosaur, which lived during the Late Cretaceous era around 77 million years ago, is a big deal to scientists as it offers evidence to suggest that smaller flying reptiles were still able to compete with birds all the way up until the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

Most pterosaur fossils found to date have been much larger with wingspans of up to 11 meters.
"This new pterosaur is exciting because it suggests that small pterosaurs were present all the way until the end of the Cretaceous, and weren't out-competed by birds," said lead scientist Elizabeth Martin-Silverstone from the University of Southampton.

"The hollow bones of pterosaurs are notoriously poorly preserved, and larger animals seem to be preferentially preserved in similarly aged Late Cretaceous ecosystems of North America."

Pterosaurs were known to have dominated the prehistoric skies for over 140 million years before going extinct along with the dinosaurs following the asteroid strike at the end of the Cretaceous.

Source: BT.com | Comments (2)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
What a cute little guy!
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
Yes he is.  He's shown with "hands".  Makes me wonder when the current day bird lost them.


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