A new species of pterosaur discovered by an Australian farmer

Gabriel Oguito/Curtin University

Artist’s impression of Haleskia Pietersenj

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An amateur paleontologist has discovered a new species of… Pterodactyl is an extinct animalairline Reptiles Which lived with dinosaurs about 100 million years ago.

Kevin Petersen, an avocado farmer and curator at the Kronosaurus Corner Fossil Museum in northwest Queensland, Australia, discovered a number of fossilized bones in western Queensland in 2021.

It has since been identified as belonging to Halyskia petersini, a new genus and species of pterosaur, according to a statement from a team from Curtin University in Perth, which led the research, published in the journal. Scientific reports Wednesday.

Its wingspan is about 4.6 metres. Haleskia “It would have been a fearsome predator about 100 million years ago when much of central-west Queensland was underwater, covered by a vast inland sea, globally positioned close to the southern coastline of Victoria today,” says study lead author Adele Pentland, a Ph.D. PhD candidate at Curtin College. The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences said in the statement.

This giant creature was the first vertebrate animal to develop the ability to fly, and it lived alongside dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era, which began about 252 million years ago.

“Pterosaurs are winged reptiles that have a wing made of a membrane of skin, so they’re similar to bats in some ways, but they’re very different and strange in the way their heads are shaped,” Pentland told CNN.

Pentland told CNN that Haleskia hunted fish and squid-like cephalopods in the inland sea, which was also home to large marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs, but they needed to descend to land to lay their eggs.

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She added that it was likely preyed upon by large marine reptiles such as Kronosaurus, whose skull alone measured 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) in length.

“Haleskea had no chance against such a monster,” Pentland said.

Fewer than 25 sets of pterosaur remains belonging to four species have been found in Australia since the 1980s, while more than 100 sets have been found in Brazil and Argentina.

In finding Haleskea, Petersen had found the most complete specimen of any pterosaur discovered in Australia to date, Pentland said in the statement, praising Petersen for his “meticulous preparation” of the remains.

Haleskia “It is 22 percent complete, making it more than twice as complete as the other known partial skeleton of a pterosaur found in Australia,” she said, adding that it includes “complete lower jaws, the tip of the upper jaw, 43 teeth, vertebrae, ribs and bones.” From both wings and part of the leg.

She added that it also includes “very thin and delicate laryngeal bones, indicating a muscular tongue, which helped during feeding on fish and cephalopods.”

Pentland told CNN that she “did not expect the sample to be as complete as it was.”

The fossil will join the collection at Kronosaurus Corner, and Petersen said he is excited about the discovery.

“I am thrilled that my discovery is a new species, as my passion lies in helping shape our modern knowledge of prehistoric species,” he said in the statement.

After that, Pentland will continue to work with regional museums in Australia to describe new fossil material, as well as collaborating with researchers in Brazil, she told CNN.

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In May 2023, Another study Led by Pentland, he found that pterosaurs flew in the skies of Australia 107 million years ago.

Paleontologists came to this conclusion after examining two pieces of prehistoric bones excavated from Dinosaur Cove — a site containing fossils in the Australian state of Victoria — more than three decades ago.

The specimens turned out to be the oldest pterosaur remains ever recovered from the country, according to the study published in the scientific journal History Biology.

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