Remains of largest known Jurassic pterosaur found in Scotland
By T.K. Randall
February 25, 2022 · 0 comments
Even Jurassic pterosaurs were large. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 HombreDHojalata
Palaeontologists have unearthed the fossil of a giant winged reptile on Scotland's Isle of Skye.
Dating back 170 million years to the Jurassic period, this winged giant - which had a wingspan of around 2.5 meters (equivalent to today's wandering albatross) - has helped to shine new light on the evolution of these enormous flying reptiles.
Up until now, it was thought that pterosaurs of this size had not existed until 25 million years later.
"When this thing was living about 170m years ago, it was the largest animal that had ever flown, at least that we know of," said study co-author Prof Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh.
"We've really dragged back in time the evolution of large pterosaurs."
Over time, pterosaurs grew to increasingly large sizes with some of the largest examples making even this prehistoric giant look like a minnow.
"There were pterosaurs living at the end of the Cretaceous when the asteroid hit that were the size of fighter jets," said Brusatte.
The newly discovered fossil - named Dearc sgiathanach
(meaning 'winged reptile' and 'reptile from Skye' in Scottish Gaelic) - is also particularly notable due to its completeness.
"It's probably about 70% complete, which is really just outstanding for a pterosaur, because these things are very difficult to fossilise," said Brusatte.
Source: The Guardian
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