Friday, May 27, 2022
pterosaurs
Credit: University of Chile

Chilean paleontologists have found pterosaur remains that are approximately 100 million years old. The new discovery stands out among others involving these flying reptiles.

This is because, in most cases, pterosaur remains are isolated and usually contain single specimens. In this case, however, scientists found an entire graveyard of such remains, identifying at least four individuals. There were certainly more of these, but there are so many bones that the authors of the research published in Cretaceous Research now have to connect them together like LEGO bricks.

The long dominance of pterosaurs in the sky

Pterosaurs inhabited our planet from about 230 to 65.5 million years ago. This order was extremely diverse, as evidenced by the fact that the wingspan of these animals ranged from several centimeters to several meters. They inhabited all terrestrial continents, although it cannot be concealed that modern Chile seems to be particularly rich in their remains. Just over 60 kilometers from the site of the new discovery, earlier palaeontologists discovered another collective cemetery made of pterosaur bones. Although most of the bones found are flattened and broken, some are in good condition. Scientists now intend to recreate the structure of these flying reptiles on their basis. This is important, for example, because pterosaurs are one of the closest ancestors of birds. Understanding their anatomy should provide information on the evolution of these animals. In total, paleontologists found four cervical vertebrae, one of which belonged to a very young individual. This is further evidence of the tendency of pterosaurs to stay in groups. It is not known, however, whether all individuals belonged to the same species or whether they were representatives of several different species.

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pterosaurs
Credit: University of Chile

Chilean paleontologists have found pterosaur remains that are approximately 100 million years old. The new discovery stands out among others involving these flying reptiles.

This is because, in most cases, pterosaur remains are isolated and usually contain single specimens. In this case, however, scientists found an entire graveyard of such remains, identifying at least four individuals. There were certainly more of these, but there are so many bones that the authors of the research published in Cretaceous Research now have to connect them together like LEGO bricks.

The long dominance of pterosaurs in the sky

Pterosaurs inhabited our planet from about 230 to 65.5 million years ago. This order was extremely diverse, as evidenced by the fact that the wingspan of these animals ranged from several centimeters to several meters. They inhabited all terrestrial continents, although it cannot be concealed that modern Chile seems to be particularly rich in their remains. Just over 60 kilometers from the site of the new discovery, earlier palaeontologists discovered another collective cemetery made of pterosaur bones. Although most of the bones found are flattened and broken, some are in good condition. Scientists now intend to recreate the structure of these flying reptiles on their basis. This is important, for example, because pterosaurs are one of the closest ancestors of birds. Understanding their anatomy should provide information on the evolution of these animals. In total, paleontologists found four cervical vertebrae, one of which belonged to a very young individual. This is further evidence of the tendency of pterosaurs to stay in groups. It is not known, however, whether all individuals belonged to the same species or whether they were representatives of several different species.