Fossils unearthed in Chile are believed to be these of a “flying dragon” that soared over the Atacama Desert greater than 160 million years in the past, scientists say.
Researchers imagine the stays belong to a pterosaur, making this the primary discovery of its form within the Southern Hemisphere.
“The invention was very thrilling,” mentioned Jhonatan Alarcón, a College of Chile scientist who led the analysis workforce. “Earlier than this discovery, it was thought that these pterosaurs had not existed at these latitudes.”
Osvaldo Rojas, director of the Atacama Desert Museum of Pure Historical past in Cerritos Bayos, found the fossils in a rock in 2009. The outcomes and evaluation carried out by Alarcón and different researchers on the College of Chile weren’t printed till this month within the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.
“We won’t say that pterosaur is a migratory species, however the findings recommend that not less than one member of Rhamphorhynchinae made its means from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere,” Alarcón mentioned.
“There are pterosaurs of this group additionally in Cuba, which apparently had been coastal animals, so probably they’ve migrated between the North and the South, or possibly they got here as soon as and stayed. We do not know.”
The creature is named a “flying dragon” due to its wingspan of greater than 6.5 toes, lengthy pointy tail and sharp buck tooth.
It’s thought to have lived on the traditional mega continent generally known as Gondwana, which was made up of South America, Antarctica, Africa, Madagascar, India, Australia and Laurasia (North America, Europe and Asia, besides peninsular India).
“Based mostly on the dimensions of the humerus, we imagine that this pterosaur was a well-developed specimen, most likely a completely grown grownup,” Alarcón mentioned in regards to the fossils. “Our specimen is kind of giant, corresponding to Rhamphorhynchus, which is the most important member of this household or maybe the most important.”
He mentioned the animal’s stays had been preserved in a uncommon, three-dimensional means as “pterosaurs, on the whole, are preserved with crushed bones, on condition that they’d very delicate and pneumatic bones, tailored for air motion.”
Chile’s Atacama Desert, a 994-mile strip of land on the Pacific Coast west of the Andes Mountains, is understood for its fossil finds. What has been billed as a graveyard of whales was unearthed within the desert in 2014.
The prevailing proof is that the animals had been poisoned by toxins from algae blooms.
This story was offered to Newsweek by Zenger Information.