(Mirror Daily, United States) History and biology books, as well as movies and animations, show us how big and frightening dinosaurs were. In the Cretaceous era, pterosaurs were the largest flying reptiles, but the researchers’ new findings show that there were also small individuals of the species.
Archeologists dug up some pterosaurs’ bone fragments in Hornby Island, Canada. They think the fossil is about 77-million-year-old.
The largest pterosaurs in late Cretaceous had a wingspan of over 32 feet, according to specialists. Its size inspired the current belief of gigantic flying dinosaurs. Specialists believe that sort of dinosaur, called Quetzalcoatlus northropi, must have been as tall as a giraffe nowadays. On the other hand, one of the smallest individuals ever found had an eight feet wingspan. The recently discovered fossil is even tiniest than the previous, with only five feet on its wingspan.
The specialists who made the discovery are surprised by the finding, as they thought that the Cretaceous era was ruled by giant reptiles exclusively.
Researchers were extremely interested in the reptile’s age. So they examined the fossil in order to check if they had found the bones of a youngster or of a full grown adult. Their analyses showed that it was no baby, although it might have grown a bit more.
Paleontologists all across the world are amazed by the discoveries as pterosaurs are hard to find. They are aware that this one is spacial because of its age and size. Specialists inform us that small Pterosaurs were common in eras preceding the Cretaceous. This latter age stands for the time when dinosaurs went extinct.
The fossil found in Hornby Island, Canada doesn’t make up the complete skeleton of the Pterosaur, as only two bone fragments have been discovered. They don’t reveal much information because they are damaged by time, but they still count as a significant finding.
Specialists think that the fossil might be an Azhdarchoid pterosaur, which was indeed related to Quetzalcoatlus northropi. This small relative had a big head, bigger than its body, actually, and small wings, according to researchers. Its size is estimated to be similar to that of a nowadays cat. It is also possible that this species might have been contemporary of the first bird species.
The detailed analysis of the fossil was published in Royal Society Open Science, on August 30.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia
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