Paleontologists found a fossilized pterosaur, a flying reptile that lived alongside dinosaurs, on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nicknamed Ceoptera evansae, The 165 million-year-old pterosaur is the second found in Scotland to date and could give researchers clues about how pterosaurs diversified.
Pterosaurs were the First vertebrates to develop powered flight.that used to occupy the ecological niches later occupied by seabirds, storks and other aerial creatures. c. missing It was actually found in 2006 on the south-west coast of Skye, but the team then spent time excavating the fossil and CT scanning the parts of the bone that were too delicate to be separated from the stone in which they were found. The team’s research describing the fossil was published this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
“Pterosaur fossils have a very poor fossil record overall, as their bones are quite fragile,” said Paul Barrett, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London and co-author of the study, in a museum launch. “As flying animals, they also don’t spend as much time on the ground near the rivers and lakes where fossils typically form.”
c. missing It is just the latest pterosaur found on Skye. In February 2022, paleontologists announced the discovery of a winged lizard, a winged reptile from the Middle Jurassic. D. winged It had a wingspan of approximately 8 feet across, making it the largest creature of its kind found in the Jurassic.
However, that doesn’t mean it was the largest pterosaur. That title belongs to Quetzalcoatlusa North American pterosaur that measured 12 feet (3.66 meters) tall and had a wingspan of 40 feet (12.2 m), making it the largest flying animal ever known. c. missingIts estimated wingspan was just over 5 feet (1.6 m), making it a more scrawny pterosaur than the other Scottish specimen.
However, c. missing It adds to a growing portfolio of ancient life in what is now Scotland along with D. winged. Both pterosaurs, from the Jurassic, indicate that there was a diversity of flying reptiles in the area.
“We now think that Darwinoptera persisted for about 25 million years along with a rich diversity of other pterosaurs, including a berryBarrett added. “This overlap is very rare in the fossil record, with China and the UK currently being the only places where it is known.”
The pterosaur analysis also showed paleontologists’ relatively new ability to prepare fossils digitally, using CT scans to view bones that cannot be excavated. Researchers can then create 3D maps of the fossil in situ and even digitally reconstruct the ancient animals.
Scotland’s pterosaur fossil record was barren for centuries, but with two pterosaurs found on Skye in as many years, we may be facing a watershed moment in understanding the ecology of the Middle Jurassic.
Further: Scotland was the real ‘Jurassic Park’ during the reign of the dinosaurs, new footprints discovered suggest