close
NATURE

The fossil of what could be the last type of flying pterosaur was found

The pterosaur was a species of the Mesozoic Era that presented itself as a winged animal. It was characterized by having a long beak, endowed with quite sharp teeth. It also had a long tail. A new discovery offers a clearer idea about the history of this animal.

It is a fossil whose age would be between 90 and 93 million years. That would indicate that this species managed to survive until the same Turonian period. He would have survived in the same continent of Australia, as reported by Scientific Reports.

The article that was published has been called “Ferrodraco lentoni gen.et sp. Nov., a new ornithocheirid pterosaur from the Winton Formation (Cenomanian – lower Turonian) of Queensland, Australia. ” There, an in-depth analysis of the finding is made.

An almost complete fossil

The interesting thing about this research is that it was carried out on one of the best preserved fossils of pterosaur. The fossil found has five vertebrae and large sections of this animal’s wing. In addition to this, it was possible to identify a rather interesting skull.

According to the first study, it was observed that this animal may have survived the Anhanguera group. That is, it was part of one of the extinct species between the period of 100 to 94 million years before, in what would be the Cenomanian phase.

Pterosaurs have been written and researched enormously. And it is that on this animal have been identified fossils located on all continents. However, they are remains that offer very limited information, because they tend to be presented very incompletely.

In Australia 15 findings of pterosaur are known

Most fossils identified are usually fragmentary, so the unity of the bones is very poor. In addition, bones with many holes are almost always identified, being quite fragile due to their great thinness. In Australia, 15 findings have been made that demonstrate the little information that could have been taken from this species.

The species found in the name was baptized the fossil species discovered with the name of Ferrodarco lentoni. This name comes from Latin and comes to translate something like an iron dragon. This name refers to the fossil conservation that the species managed to have despite the millions of years that have passed since its death.

The investigation team in this case is led by Adele Pentland. A good part of the study focused on the dimensions of its jaws that had ridges located in both the upper and lower areas. The teeth meanwhile reveal great resistance.

The species that could best survive extinction

After analyzing the fossil remains, they soon compared it with the pterosaur group called Anhanguera. It is a clan of which other species have been found in territories of Brazil, England and China.

According to advanced studies on this clan, it has been concluded that the Ferrodraco had wings that came to measure about four meters. In addition, it could be perceived that his teeth have unique characteristics. The front teeth, which are the smallest, would be very useful when capturing their prey.

The tests carried out on these fossil remains would show that Australia was the continent where the pterosaur species managed to survive for much longer.

This means that the other pterosaur species were already extinct in the rest of the world, while the one that predominated in Australia was lucky to live at least 3 million years. Keep in mind that until then they were considered extinct for at least 94 million years.

Ferrodraco researchers, through the tests carried out on fossils, identified that they were at least 90 million years old.

An investigation for the future

Whenever research is carried out related to the time of the dinosaurs, many questions are generated. But in essence, the main question that researchers are trying to answer has to do with the resistance of these animals to the phenomenon that condemned them to extinction.

The most commonly accepted theory is that the planet was ravaged by an asteroid that forever changed the metabolism of the planet, generating such drastic changes that different kinds of dinosaurs were forced to be buried in the different continents.

Being animals so huge and with such exceptional characteristics, the question remains unsolved for many researchers. Other theories affirm strong climatic changes and a period of constant volcanic activity.

Whenever remains of dinosaur species appear the question is raised again. Will the pterosaur found in Australia be proof that its extinction was due to other conditions to those raised so far?

Tags :