Scientists have unearthed fossils of a new species of flying pterosaur that lived around a desert lake in Brazil about 100 million years ago. Fossils suggest that there was a whole colony of the flying reptile. According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers have obtained fossils of at least 47 pterosaurs at Cruzeiro do Oeste in southern Brazil.
All the fossils of pterosaur were unearthed from an area of just 20 square meters
The new species of pterosaur, named Caiuajara dobruskii, had a wingspan ranging 2-8 feet. These are the first pterosaurs to be found so far south in Brazil. Scientists believe the large number of bones represent hundreds of young and adult individuals. It’s the first time they have found a pterosaur “bone bed” with fossil remains of many individuals of the same species.
The site where these fossils were found cover an area of just 20 square meters. The boneyard was once part of a desert lake in the Cretaceous period, between 100 million to 66 million years ago. Alexander Kellner, a paleontologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and lead author of the study, said it offers the “best evidence ever uncovered” that the pterosaurs lived in colonies.
This pterosaur species lived in colonies
C. dobruskii had a big bony crest on top of their head. Scientists believe it was a gregarious species, living in colonies around an inland lake in a desert. This species learned to fly at a very young age. There were three main levels of accumulation in less than one meter section. It suggests that the site was a home to pterosaur populations for a very long time.
It’s also possible that the C. dobruskii was a migratory pterosaur that visited this area frequently. The cause of their death is still unknown. In the past, researchers have found pterosaur fossils on every continent. An interesting thing is that most fossils have been found around what was once lagoons or oceans.