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Fossil of pterosaur, some call flying dinosaur, sheds new light
Time:06-09-2016  Hits:12

     A new fossil find has shown that a small version of the flying reptile known as the pterosaur continued to exist longer than thought. Its larger brother was the earths largest flying reptile and even the small versions wing span was about five feet.

      Scientists say the larger pterosaur had up to an 11 metre wingspan (about 37 feet) and its smaller brother, at 1.5 metres (5 feet) was believed to have become extinct because early birds out-competed it for food, forcing the pterosaur to evolve into the giant creature it became.

      However, the recent finding of parts of a fossilized small pterosaur, on Hornby Island in British Columbia, dates this version of the flying reptile toward the end of the existence of pterosaurs, suggesting the smaller-version continued to live along side its larger brothers.

      The creatures came into being during the late Triassic Period and became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period (so they lived from about 228 million years ago to 66 million years ago).

      The fossil fragments found consist of a partial skeleton with vertebrae, an arm bone (humerus) and what scientists believe could be limb fragments. It was found by a knowledgeable collector/volunteer who donated it to the Royal British Columbia Museum.

      The find has been detailed in the August edition of the Royal Society Open Science journal under the title: A small azhdarchoid pterosaur from the latest Cretaceous, the age of flying giants.

      The fossilized pterosaur has been researched extensively and it was confirmed that it is not the fossilized remains of a baby of the larger version, but an actual smaller adult pterosaur. Fossils of the smaller flying reptile are hard to find as the bones are hollow and more easily destroyed over time.

      Though a creature that flies, had wingspans from five to 37 feet, had long tails and possessed fully-toothed jaws might seem a dinosaur, technically it is not. But like the dinosaur the pterosaur is more closely related to birds than to other reptiles.

 

------This article was originally published by Marcus Hondro.

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