Flying reptile skeleton found in Brazil

Flying reptile skeleton found in Brazil

Hundreds of fossils of ancient flying reptile Caiuajara dobruskii were discovered together in a single bed. These fossils of the reptile which have an unusual butterfly-esque head were found on the outskirts of Cruzeiro do Oeste in the southern state of Parana, southern Brazil by paleontologists. It is believed that they swooped through the skies over Brazil roughly 90 million years ago.

The study authors reveal that these creatures lived 80 million years ago and belonged to the pterosaur (or pterodactyl) group. Their wingspan ranges from .65 meters to 2.35 meters. The pterosaurs' heads are also adorned with a large crest, which grew in prominence as the animals matured. The size of the grave suggests that they were a social species, living and flying in colonies; developing flight from a very young age. They seem to live in a desert area with an oasis and ate fruit.

According to a Live Science report, they were originally discovered in 1970 by a farmer and his son. However, they were long forgotten until their excavation began two years ago.

Over 47 skeletons of a single, new species found over a space of about 20 square meters are very impressive. Apart from the confirmed 47 individuals, estimations of their actual numbers go up to hundreds.

The research paper, published in the journal PLOS One, informed, "Episodic events (e.g., desert storms) likely carried the disarticulated and partially articulated skeletons to the bottom of the lake where they got eventually preserved. The presence of three main levels of accumulation in a section of less than one meter suggests that this region was home to pterosaur populations for an extended period of time".

Alexander Kellner, a paleontologist with Brazil's National Museum at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, says that it will help to indicate on the anatomical variation achieved by this species from young to old.

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