The remnants of an unusual prehistoric reptile capable of flying were found in Brazil during a police raid. We’re sure you’ve been curious about what was going on on Earth 115 million years ago, so the new finding brings some answers.
The new discovery was published in PLOS ONE, and it reveals an incredibly well-preserved specimen. The fossil still had more than 90% of the skeleton intact.
A tapejarid was uncovered
The star of the show is a tapejarid, meaning a pterosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous period. The creature featured a huge crest above the head, giving the animal a punk-style appearance. The tapejarid belongs to the Tupandactylus navigans species.
Victor Beccari, who is a co-author of the study, declared as cited by CNET.com:
This fossil is special because it is the most complete pterosaur from Brazil and it brings new information about the anatomy and ecology of this animal.
Beccari began studying the creature in 2016.
The unusual fossil was discovered by the Brazilian federal police during the investigation of an illegal fossil trade operation. 3,000 specimens were recovered that were kept in Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro.
Tim Richards is a paleontologist from the University of Queensland, and he proved to be very excited about the discovery, as he was quoted by CNET.com:
Wow, what a find,
The acquisition of this specimen is unquestionably a victory for science.
Pterosaurs were flying reptiles belonging to the extinct clade or order Pterosauria. These creatures existed during most of the Mesozoic: meaning from the late Triassic until the end of the Cretaceous.