Palaeontology: New species of pterosaur discovered - Triops Galaxy

Palaeontology: New species of pterosaur discovered in Scotland

Many millions of years ago, they roamed the skies over Europe: majestic pterosaurs with slender, arrow-shaped tails and distinctive horns on their heads. This is the appearance of a newly discovered species of pterosaur recently discovered by researchers on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. This species has been named Ceoptera evansae. A team of researchers has identified this previously unknown pterosaur species, which was native to what is now Scotland around 168 to 166 million years ago. This discovery sheds new light on the distribution of these flying reptiles and has caused considerable excitement.

Rare pterosaur fossils from the Middle Jurassic

Pterosaurs, also known as pterosaurs, populated the Earth during the Early, Middle and Late Cretaceous periods. The team, made up of researchers from the University of Bristol’s Natural History Museum, the University of Leicester and the University of Liverpool, have reported their findings in a study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. The newly discovered pterosaur species was at home in Scotland around 168 to 166 million years ago. This discovery is particularly remarkable as it is the first pterosaur found in Scotland and also the most complete pterosaur found in the UK since the early 1800s.

It is extremely rare to find pterosaur fossils from the Middle Jurassic. In addition, the skeletons discovered so far have often been fragmentary, making it difficult to reconstruct the early evolution of these animals. Based on the remains found this time – a partially preserved three-dimensional skeleton section comprising shoulders, wings, legs and spine – the research team was able to draw a detailed picture of the pterosaur.

One of the most important phases in the evolution of pterosaurs

Analysis of the skeleton shows that the diversity of this genus was far greater than previously thought and that it existed over a period of more than 25 million years, from the Late Jurassic to the Late Jurassic, the research team said in a statement. During this period, the species of this genus would have spread worldwide. The discovery now makes it possible to narrow down the dates of several important events in the evolution of pterosaurs more precisely. CT scans were required for the investigation, as the bones were partially fused with rock. New anatomical features of a flying reptile were discovered, confirming the existence of the controversial genus Darwinoptera, as mentioned in the study.

Professor Paul Barrett, one of the lead authors of the study, describes the appearance of Ceoptera in the Middle Jurassic of the UK as “a complete surprise”. Dr Liz Martin-Silverstone, also lead author of the study, emphasises that the period from which Ceoptera dates is “one of the most significant phases in the evolution of pterosaurs” and at the same time “one of which we have the fewest number of specimens, indicating its importance.” She adds: “The fact that other bones were embedded in the rock, some of which helped to identify the pterosaur species Ceoptera, makes this find even more remarkable than originally thought.”

Sladjan Lazic

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