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Flying lizard set to change the textbooks

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Flying lizard set to change the textbooks
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An international team of Romanian, British and Brazilian palaeontologists has discovered a new species of pterosaurus called Eurazhdarcho in Romania. It is a flying reptile which existed during the late Cretaceous period, 68 million years ago.

Found during excavations on the Transylvanian plateau, the discovery is much more important than previous ones due to the remarkably well-preserved state of the bones, which are extremely fragile. Some characteristics of the wing bones show that they could also fold their wings and walk on all four legs when needed. With a wingspan of three metres and weighing no more than 10 kilograms, the animal was big but not gigantic.

“This is one of the most complete discoveries from the Late Cretaceous Period in Europe. Because the bones are hollow, they are harder to preserve in geological rocks. The bones have very thin walls. At the slightest touch, they break. This is why this partial skeleton is the best preserved,” says paleontologist Matei Vremir.

“One fragment has crocodile bite marks on it, with tapered chip marks here and there. There are wing bones. Metacarpal bones are very elongated in pterosaurs. In humans, the bone corresponds to part of the hand and to the knuckles.”

The discovery gives scientists new clues about how this group of pterosaurs lived. One of the newer ideas is that they spend their time in forests, fields and other places where small prey was abundant.