STATES CHRONICLE – A group of scientists unearthed the fossils of a new pterosaur species in Patagonia. Until now, the existence of the pterosaurs was more theoretical due to a lack of physical evidence. Fortunately, the recent discovery will shed more light on the mysterious flying reptile.
Approximately 180 years ago, during the Mesozoic Era, the reptiles were the dominant class. In the age of dinosaurs, the planet was different, the skies being filled with terrifying flying monsters with razor-sharp beaks, claws, and wings made out of membrane, not feathers.
One of these monstrous creatures was the pterosaur, one of the most elusive species with flight capabilities; that is up until the Allkauren koi was discovered in Patagonia.
According to the study published in the Peer J Magazine on Tuesday, the discovery is of enormous help in the understanding of the tempo, origin, and evolution model of the flying carnivores.
The new pterosaur species unearthed in South America was dubbed the Allkauren koi due to its magnificently preserved braincase. In native Tehuelche, all is the word for brain and karuen means ancient. The braincase is a valuable source of insight on the animal’s neuroanatomic origins.
“Allkaruen, from the middle lower Jurassic limit, shows an intermediate state in the brain evolution of pterosaurs and their adaptations to the aerial environment. As a result, this research makes an important contribution to the understanding of the evolution of all pterosaurs,” declared one of the paleontologists.
Researchers used computer tomography to analyze the inner ear and skull of the animal. Furthermore, they used the newly acquired data to perform a comprehensive analysis of the pterosaurs’ history.
According to the information obtained from the analysis of the new pterosaur species, the animal was an excellent flier, its pneumatic bones and elongated fingers helping it glide through the air in search of unsuspecting prey.
Paleontologists believe that the reptile glided over water or land and snatched up small animals that served as nourishment.
Pterosaur presence was first recorded during the Late Triassic. The species flourished and managed to reach taxonomic and morphologic diversity during the Mesozoic. Currently, there are approximately 150 different recorded species, the Allkauren koi being the newest.
Image source: Wikipedia