Paleontologists have discovered fossils in Romania belonging to a flying reptile from the dinosaur-age. Found in Romania, the 68-million-year-old fossilized bones represent a brand new species of pterosaur.
Researchers from Britains’s University of Southampton partnered with international colleagues to identify the fossils. Once classified as a new species the ancient flying reptile was given the name Eurazhdarcho langendorfensis.
Southampton paleontologist Darren Naish described the features and characteristics found in this type of species:
“Eurazhdarcho belong to a group of pterosaurs called the azhdarchids. These were long-necked, long-beaked pterosaurs whose wings were strongly adapted for a soaring lifestyle. Several features of their wing and hind limb bones show that they could fold their wings up and walk on all fours when needed.”
Live Science reports that while some azhdarchid species can have wingspans of up to 36 feet while in flight, this particular pterosaur would have measured much smaller. Naish remarked on the size difference:
“With a three-meter [10-foot] wingspan, Eurazhdarcho would have been large, but not gigantic. This is true of many of the animals so far discovered in Romania; they were often unusually small compared to their relatives elsewhere.”
An article by UPI writes that the discovery boasts the most extensive example of an azhdarchid found in Europe thus far. Joining the team from Southampton in their discovery was the Transylvanian Museum Society in Romania and the Museau Nacional in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Findings from their research detailing the discovery of the flying reptile fossil has been published in the journal PLoS One.