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Palaeontology

33ft 'frozen dragon' pterosaur found in Canada

By T.K. Randall
September 16, 2019 · Comment icon 17 comments



Cryodrakon was absolutely enormous. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 PaleoEquii
Palaeontologists have identified one of the largest flying creatures ever to live on planet Earth.
This gargantuan creature, which soared through the Cretaceous skies over 76 million years ago, has been named Cryodrakon boreas, which means 'frozen dragon of the north.'

Originally discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park in southern Alberta 30 years ago, the partial skeleton had been mistaken for another genus of pterosaur until very recently when a new analysis enabled experts to finally recognize it as a new species.

Thought to stand 9ft tall and with a weight of 250kg, this enormous flying reptile would have likely feasted on just about anything, including small dinosaurs.
Its 33ft wingspan - which would have made it similar in size to a small plane - is almost three times that of the wandering albatross which has the largest known wingspan of any living bird.

"These are among the most popular and charismatic of all fossil animals," said Michael Habib from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. "They have been inspiration for countless movie monsters, they were critical parts of global ecosystems worldwide during the age of dinosaurs, so they are key to understanding the ecology and extinctions of that time."

"Just like flying animals today, [they] could carry important clues about how animals at the time responded to major changes in climate."

Source: Independent | Comments (17)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by It's Just An Opinion 3 years ago
Two small jet engines would totally take me off, and after seeing that tiny UFO replica I know two small jet engines are in fact something that can already be made. https://mikeshouts.com/adifo-ufo-style-vtol-drone/ So yeh, I fall within the weight class required for the calculations, and all the technology required to make it happen already exists.
Comment icon #9 Posted by kobolds 3 years ago
Frozen dragon NOT EQUAL frozen bones
Comment icon #10 Posted by zygote_myles 3 years ago
Wow, that's one amazing animal. One amazing reptile.†
Comment icon #11 Posted by jowasmus 3 years ago
I always get confused when I see new species of dinosaurs & the images that go with them. I've lived long enough that they had scales, then feathers, & who knows what colors? Some artists need to be tapped to make more than a single representation of the species. I need some variations. LOL This was a cool article, though.
Comment icon #12 Posted by It's Just An Opinion 3 years ago
It might also have to do with the atmosphere and the amount of co2 ppm to air. This pterodactyl was alive long before the†Argentavis magnificens and there were†alot of changes†happening to the atmosphere, there still are.†I was like†6 so i don't might not remember†correctly but when watching the history channel or animal planet whatever it was i remember seeing this prehistoric tarantula†that was larger than a persons chest. and if my memory†serves me right they said tarantulas†cant get that big anymore because their†chest cavity somehow doesn't†compensate for the difference in the atmosphere ... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Carnoferox 3 years ago
Azhdarchid pterosaurs like†Cryodrakon†are considered terrestrial stalkers analogous to modern†hornbills and marabou storks, not filter-feeders†or piscivores. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/were-azhdarchid-pterosaurs-really-terrestrial-stalkers-the-evidence-says-yes-yes-they-probably-were/
Comment icon #14 Posted by Carnoferox 3 years ago
Pterosaurs being able to fly had†nothing to do with different atmospheric conditions, but rather their†skeletal adaptations. Their bones were pneumatized, filled with air sacs, which not only reduced weight but also assisted in respiration.
Comment icon #15 Posted by It's Just An Opinion 3 years ago
That's really cool.† Believe it or not I have 8 to 12mm wide veins bulging the surface of my†skin all over my body. Not Just a few, all over like vines less than 2 inches apart wrapping around all over the place. That's probably why I†can float parallel to the surface of the water in a pool filled with nothing but regular chlorinated water, (without moving†at all)†The same way I've seen those people in extremely salty lakes do. O†and I†mean float paralleled not partially sinking, my feet are leveled with my head as if i were laying on a bed.†
Comment icon #16 Posted by Ell 3 years ago
Marine turtles can walk on land, but that doesn't mean that they are land animals. Maybe the pterosaur species that was the ancestor of the birds could fly, but I doubt that any of the other pterosaur species could. If they could, they would all have evolved into bird-like animals. If they could fly in air, they would not have been vulnerable to mass extinctions. Whereas marine life, if I recall correctly, is extremely vulnerable to mass extinctions. † I suspect that most pterosaur species flew exclusively in water: i.e. they swam. † † †
Comment icon #17 Posted by Carnoferox 3 years ago
Wow there are a lot of misconceptions here. 1. Marine turtles can shuffle up onto the beach, but they canít walk on land because their limbs are modified into flippers. They spend the majority of their lives in the ocean, only coming ashore to lay eggs.†Not at all a good analogue for pterosaurs. 2. Pterosaurs were not the ancestors of birds. 3. All pterosaurs yet discovered were capable of flight, which†has been proven by multiple biomechanical analyses. As I stated earlier, their pneumatized bones allowed them to remain lightweight enough even with massive wingspans. 4. Flying animals are jus... [More]


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