Giant Pterosaurs Fossil Discovered In Transylvania

Posted: Jan 28 2017, 10:48am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Giant Pterosaurs Fossil Discovered in Transylvania
Credit: PeerJ
 

Newfound transylvania pterosaur was the top predator on ancient land

Paleontologists working in Romania’s famous historical site have uncovered something unusual – the fossil of a giant, flying reptile that dominated the skies of late Cretaceous period approximately 70 million years ago. The flying reptile is recognized as Hatzegopteryx and it was large enough to eat animal as massive as a small horse or even young dinosaurs.

The bones of Hatzegopteryx  were unearthed from Transylvania, which is an area known for its rich fossil deposits.

Pterosaurs remains have been discovered all over the world. Based on those earlier analyses, researchers suggest that pterosaurs usually had long necks and legs and were capable of eating prey as big as a modern rat. Moreover, they can quite dramatically vary in size, some of which even grew the size of a jet fighter. But Hatzegopteryx that come from late Cretaceous period or azhdarchid family are quite different. Its remains indicate that it was among the biggest pterosaurs with a wingspan of 10 meters. It had short, thick neck but extremely wide bones and wide mouth that allowed it to swallow much larger prey than others in the family. 

Transylvania was once part of Hateg Island which lied above the Tethys Sea. The area has yield different types of dinosaur fossils before but none of them had teeth larger than flying reptile, suggesting Pterosaurs was the top predator of its time.

Newfound pterosaurs fossil is reshaping how scientists view ancient flying reptiles, their biodiversity and their role in complex ecosystems during the late Cretaceous Period, before the extinction of dinosaurs. 

However, there is no consensus among researchers as to whether they are related to modern crocodiles and ancient dinosaurs and should therefore belong to the group archosaurs. No further classification is likely to happen until more evidence is found.

The findings of the study are published in journal PeerJ.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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