New pterosaur discovery in Texas, USA

This is a flying reptile video, recorded in Japan.

From The Hindu in India:

Flying reptile fossil is that of new pterosaur genus, species

A newly identified reptile is only the second ornithocheirid ever documented in North America, says Timothy Myers, a postdoctoral fellow in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

A 95 million-year-old fossilized jaw discovered in Texas has been identified as a new genus and species of flying reptile, Aetodactylus halli.

Aetodactylus halli is a pterosaur, a group of flying reptiles commonly referred to as pterodactyls.

The rare pterosaur — literally a winged lizard — is also one of the youngest members in the world of the pterosaur family Ornithocheiridae, according to paleontologist Myers, who identified and named Aetodactylus halli.

While rare in North America, toothed pterosaurs belonging to the Ornithocheiridae are a major component of Cretaceous pterosaur faunas elsewhere in the world, Myers says. The Texas specimen — a nearly complete mandible with most of its 54 teeth missing — is definitively younger than most other ornithocheirid specimens from Brazil, England and China, he says. It is five million years younger than the only other known North American ornithocheirid, according to a Southern Methodist University press release.

Myers describes the new species in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Pterosaurs ruled the skies from the late Triassic, more than 200 million years ago, to the end of the Cretaceous, about 65 million years ago, when they went extinct. They represent the earliest vertebrates capable of flying.

North American pterosaurs that date from the Cretaceous are all toothless, except for Aetodactylus and Coloborhynchus, Myers says. The thinness of the jaws, the upward angle of the back half of the mandible and the lack of a pronounced expansion of the jaw tips indicate that Aetodactylus is different from other ornithocheirids and represents a new genus and species of pterosaur.

Myers has estimated the wingspan around roughly 3 metres.

“Discovery of another ornithocheirid species in Texas hints at a diversity of pterosaurs in the Cretaceous of North America that wasn’t previously realized,” Myers says.

“Aetodactylus also represents one of the final occurrences of ornithocheirids prior to the Late Cretaceous transition to pterosaur faunas that were dominated by the edentulous, or toothless, species.”

See also here. And here. And here.

1 thought on “New pterosaur discovery in Texas, USA

  1. Infant crocodile fossils unearthed at Arlington Archosaur Site in North Arlington

    May 28, 2010

    ( — Palentologists have found the partial skull of an infant crocodile at the Arlington Archosaur Site, a prolific fossil site in North Arlington. The young reptile’s skull is a tiny version of the adult skull found at the site last summer. The juvenile snout is three centimeters long, slightly over one inch, compared to the adult snout which was over 15 centimeters. The crocodiles lived nearly 100 million years ago.

    In addition to the partial snout, crews have found baby scutes – the armored plates that cover the backs of crocodiles – teeth and tiny limb bones, said Derek Main, The University of Texas at Arlington dinosaur lecturer who heads the project.

    “We haven’t found the whole baby yet, but the discovery is really exciting. It’s the first discovery of juvenile crocs from this time frame and this region,” Main said.

    To date more dinosaur fossils have been recovered from the Arlington Archosaur Site, where excavation began about two years year ago, than from any other site in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The site lies within Cretaceous rocks, formed 95 million years ago when Arlington was the beachhead for a giant sea that divided the continent.

    The site has yielded fossils from various species of animals, including dinosaurs. A skeleton of a large herbivorous “duck billed” dinosaur was excavated from the northern hillside at the site. Crocodile fossils are among the most commonly found.

    Main said the site is unique because it is a major dinosaur excavation in the middle of a large metropolitan setting and it preserves many fossils from different animals. The site also has fossils from turtles, lungfish, fish and sharks. The excavation of the Arlington Archosaur Site began in the spring of 2008 when the Huffines Group obtained the property and granted land access to UT Arlington.

    Provided by University of Texas at Arlington


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