On the 23rd of May, paleontologists in Argentina unearthed a fossilized flying reptile, which has been named “The Dragon of Death”. According to the researchers, the dinosaur is approximately 86 million years old, having lived during the Cretaceous, and it has a very long body, comparable to the length of a regular bus.
The reptile belongs to a new pterosaur species and was one of the first ones that made use of their wings for hunting purposes. The creature had two huge wings, spanning around nine meters and it was as tall as a giraffe. However, despite the size of its wings, researchers claim that the reptile probably spent little time flying. Even so, the lead researcher, Leonardo Ortiz, stated that its wingspan “defies the limits of our biological understanding“.
The fossil was found in the Andes mountains, in the province of Mendoza, western Argentina. Due to its unusual features, which don’t resemble any other remains discovered so far, the creation of a new genus and species for it was necessary. Thus, it was named Thanatosdrakon amaru, which is formed from the ancient Greek terms thanatos, meaning death and drakon, meaning dragon.
According to Reuters, “researchers, who published their study last April in the scientific journal Cretaceous Research, said the fossil’s huge bones classify the new species as the largest pterosaur yet discovered in South America and one of the largest found anywhere”.
At the same time, researchers stated that, although not much is known about the life of such a creature, it probably lived in larger groups. This species of pterosaur seems to have lived about 20 million years prior to the event that lead to the disappearance of dinosaurs. During the event, which took place 66 million years ago, an asteroid with an estimated diameter of about 12 km hit the earth, causing 75 percent of all species to go extinct.