Wednesday, February 23, 2022 at 6:00 pm – A discovery that has surprised paleontologists. This bird lived much earlier than scientists thought.
A fossilized jawbone was found from a beach on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Scientists concluded that the piece belonged to a pterosaur. This species of flying reptile lived tens of millions of years earlier than previously known. This pterodactyl, named Dirk Sjiatanakh, lived about 170 million years ago during the Jurassic period, researchers said Tuesday. With a wingspan of about 2.5 meters, Dirk was the largest known Jurassic pterosaur and the largest flying creature at that time. Some pterosaurs, during the Cretaceous period that followed, reached much larger proportions, the size of fighter planes.
Diark was light: perhaps less than 22 pounds (10 kg) — thanks to his hollow bones and slender build. It had an elongated skull and a long, stiff tail. An arsenal of sharp teeth formed a cage when biting prey. Pterosaurs, which lived alongside dinosaurs, were the first of three groups of vertebrates to achieve flight. Pterosaurs are among the rarest vertebrates in the fossil record due to their brittle bones, some with walls thinner than a sheet.