Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New kind of extinct flying reptile discovered

Date:
February 4, 2013
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
A new kind of pterosaur, a flying reptile from the time of the dinosaurs, has been identified by scientists from Romania, the UK and Brazil. The fossilized bones come from the Late Cretaceous rocks of Sebes-Glod in the Transylvanian Basin, Romania, which are approximately 68 million years old.

Full body reconstruction of Eurazhdarcho langendorfensis. Preserved skeletal elements are in white. Scale bar is 500 mm.
Credit: Image courtesy of Mark Witton / Citation: Mátyás Vremir, Alexander W. A. Kellner, Darren Naish, Gareth J. Dyke. A New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous of the Transylvanian Basin, Romania: Implications for Azhdarchid Diversity and Distribution. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (1): e54268 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054268

A new kind of pterosaur, a flying reptile from the time of the dinosaurs, has been identified by scientists from the Transylvanian Museum Society in Romania, the University of Southampton in the UK and the Museau Nacional in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

The fossilised bones come from the Late Cretaceous rocks of Sebeş-Glod in the Transylvanian Basin, Romania, which are approximately 68 million years old. The Transylvanian Basin is world-famous for its many Late Cretaceous fossils, including dinosaurs of many kinds, as well as fossilised mammals, turtles, lizards and ancient relatives of crocodiles.

A paper on the new species, named Eurazhdarcho langendorfensis has been published in the online journal PLoS ONE. Dr Darren Naish, from the University of Southampton's Vertebrate Palaeontology Research Group, who helped identify the new species, says: "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.

"With a three-metre 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."

The discovery is the most complete example of an azhdarchid found in Europe so far and its discovery supports a long-argued theory about the behaviour of these types of creatures.

Dr Gareth Dyke, Senior Lecturer in Vertebrate Palaeontology, based at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton says: "Experts have argued for years over the lifestyle and behaviour of azhdarchids. It has been suggested that they grabbed prey from the water while in flight, that they patrolled wetlands and hunted in a heron or stork-like fashion, or that they were like gigantic sandpipers, hunting by pushing their long bills into mud.

"One of the newest ideas is that azhdarchids walked through forests, plains and other places in search of small animal prey. Eurazhdarcho supports this view of azhdarchids, since these fossils come from an inland, continental environment where there were forests and plains as well as large, meandering rivers and swampy regions."

Fossils from the region show that there were several places where both giant azhdarchids and small azhdarchids lived side by side. Eurazhdarcho's discovery indicates that there were many different animals hunting different prey in the region at the same time, demonstrating a much more complicated picture of the Late Cretaceous world than first thought.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mátyás Vremir, Alexander W. A. Kellner, Darren Naish, Gareth J. Dyke. A New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous of the Transylvanian Basin, Romania: Implications for Azhdarchid Diversity and Distribution. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (1): e54268 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054268

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "New kind of extinct flying reptile discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204111548.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2013, February 4). New kind of extinct flying reptile discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204111548.htm
University of Southampton. "New kind of extinct flying reptile discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204111548.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins