Category: Tech / Sci / March 20, 2013 4:56 PM EDT
Brazilian researchers unveiled the fossilized remains of a gigantic prehistoric flying reptile at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday (March 20).
The bones belong to what is known as a pterosaur, or "winged lizard," and the unearthing of the Brazilian specimen represents the most complete fossil of its kind ever discovered in the Southern Hemisphere and the third best worldwide.
The fossil was found in the Chapada do Araripe plateau - close to where the remains of two other pterosaurs were also discovered.
An actual-sized reconstructed model of the Brazilian find displayed what scientists said was an adult pterosaur from about 110 million-years-ago which was almost fully-grown with a wingspan measuring 8.5 meters (27 feet 10 inches).
Pterosaurs are believed to have dominated the skies from about 220 million to 65 million-years-ago, at the same time as dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
One of the researchers from the project that discovered the fossils, Alexander W. A. Kellner, said the find was exceptional because of its near completeness.
"Compared with the other gigantic animals, this is the most complete specimen because while the two other best (specimens) are based just on part of the arm and part of the wing and a small fragment of the cranium; this one here has the cranium, the lower jaw, a practically complete spinal column, arms, legs, and more," Kellner said.
Three Brazilian research teams worked together on the project which was partially funded by the State of Rio de Janeiro's Foundation to Support research.
Pterosaur fossils have been found in various parts of the world from Morocco, the United Kingdom, the United States, China and of course, Brazil.
Video Source: Reuters