Scientists were always pretty sure that dragons are nothing else but mythological creatures. Even common sense tells us that no beast is able to throw flames from its mouth and lungs. But let’s not forget that nature constantly finds ways to amaze us.
Researchers from the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Queensland are studying fossils of a flying beast that soared across the Australian skies long ago using its huge wings of 22 feet.
Meet the Thapunngaka shawi
Thapunngaka shawi is the flying and fearsome beast in question, according to CNET, and its name means “Shaw’s spear mouth,” while the latter is a little reference to its discoverer Len Shaw. We’re talking about a pterosaur, and it reaches the performance of resembling a true dragon from those fantasy books and movies that we’re all aware of.
Richards, who is a PhD student, said as quoted by CNET:
This thing would have been quite savage,
It would have cast a great shadow over some quivering little dinosaur that wouldn’t have heard it until it was too late.
Pterosaurs populated our planet until 66 million years ago, and you might have already guessed the reason for their disappearance. That’s right, the Chicxulub impactor caused the extermination of the dinosaurs along with the pterosaurs. Two hundred twenty-eight million years ago marked the beginning of the pterosaurs’ dominance. These creatures represent the first vertebrae beings that were also capable of flying.
Scientists are pretty sure that Thapunngaka shawi weren’t spewing flames as “real dragons” do, but they still remain amazing creatures. For instance, these pterosaurs had necks longer than the ones of giraffes, and only the skull would extend over 3.2 feet and feature 40 strong teeth.
The new discovery was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.