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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/14/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'Caiuajara dobruskii' distinguished by large bony crest on the top of its head

A colony of previously unknown flying reptiles that lived around a desert lake in Brazil around 100 million years ago have been uncovered by scientists. The fossilized remains of at least 47 pterosaurs with wingspans ranging from two to eight feet, were discovered at Cruzeiro do Oeste in southern Brazil.

What separates the latest find from others of their species is that the pterosaur Caiuajara dobruskii had a large bony crest on the top of its head that changed from being small when it was young, to large and steep in adults.

What separates the latest find from others of their species is that the pterosaur Caiuajara dobruskii had a large bony crest on the top of its head that changed from being small when it was young, to large and steep in adults.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/14/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Caiuajara dobruskii, pterosaur, Brazil


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Finding this unexpected cache of bones may indicate that hundreds of young and adult individuals perished there.

In either case, it's the very first time scientists have located a pterosaur "bone bed" containing fossils from many individuals of the same species.

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The site where they were found covers an area of less than 215 square feet.

What separates the latest find from others of their species is that the pterosaur Caiuajara dobruskii had a large bony crest on the top of its head that changed from being small when it was young, to large and steep in adults.
 
It's believed to have been a gregarious species that learned to fly at a very young age.

"Based on the available information, we conclude that Caiuajara dobruskii lived in colonies around an inland lake situated in a desert," Dr. Alexander Kellner, from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, says. 

A type of previously-unknown pterosaur - ancient flying reptiles, the Caiuajara dobruskii's wingspan ranged from two to eight feet.

Archaeologists believe think the creature lived in colonies - in this case, around a lake in the desert.

"The presence of three main levels of accumulation in a section of less than one meter suggests that this region was home to pterosaur populations for an extended period of time," Kellner writes.

"It is also plausible that Caiuajara was a migratory pterosaur that visited this area from time to time, although the first possibility is favored here.

"The causes of death remain unknown, although similarities with dinosaur drought-related mortality are striking.

"However, it is also possible that desert storms could have been responsible for the occasional demise of these pterosaurs.'

The fossil record of pterosaurs, which lived alongside the dinosaurs but were unrelated to birds, is patchy. Their bones were fragile and few of the creatures lived in places where fossils form easily, making pterosaur finds rare.

In the past, their remains have consisted of incomplete skeletons of a single individual.

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