Paleontologists have just made an impressive discovery, The remains of a “dragon” dominated the skies of northeastern Australia about 110 million years ago.
With a seven-meter wingspan and a mouth full of fangs, this is the largest pterosaur species ever found on the continent, and is a very important finding that contributes to our understanding of Australia’s diversity of pterosaurs.
“It’s the closest thing we have to a real dragon.”Paleontologist Tim Richards of the University of Queensland in Australia said.
“The new pterosaur, which we call Thapunngaka Shawi, would have been a fearsome beast, with a spear-shaped mouth and a wingspan of about seven meters.”It is to explain.
In essence, it was just a skull with a long neck, mounted in a pair of long wings.
“This thing could have been so wild. It could have cast a shadow over some quivering little dinosaur that you wouldn’t have heard until it was too late.” added.
Pterosaur remains in Australia are extremely rare. Like today’s birds, their bones are ready to fly, It was hollow and brittle, so very little has survived to this day. Less than 20 specimens have been described from the continent, and only three specimens have been named, prior to T. shawi.
In addition, only two Australian pterosaurs belonged to a group known as the Anhanguerian pterosaurs, and both hailed from the northeastern state of Queensland. T. shawi is considered the third Anhanguerian from Australia. He is also from Queensland.
Their description is based on part of the lower jaw and what we know about other Anhanguerian pterosaurs. It is named after the fossil hunter who discovered it, Lin Shu, and includes words from the language of the First Nations peoples who inhabited the area, the Wanamara Nation.
The genus name, Thapunngaka, includes thapun (ta-boon) and ngaka (nga-ga), and Wanamara words for ‘spear’ and ‘mouth’, respectively. Paleontologist Steve Salisbury of the University of Queensland said.
According to the team’s reconstruction, the skull of T. Shawi would have been about 1 meter long, with about 40 teeth. The beast flew over the Iromanga Inland Sea that once dominated eastern Australia, using its long, powerful jaws to pull fish out of the water.
Of particular importance is the presence of a bony ridge in the lower jaw, the researchers found. According to what we know about the Anhanguerians, the upper jaw of the animal also wears such an emblem.
“It is possible that these ridges played a role in the flight dynamics of these creatures, and we hope that future research will provide more definitive answers.” Salisbury said.
It is from this edge that the researchers estimated the size of the pterosaur. It is the largest known lower summit of any Anhanguerian, they said. If their estimates are correct, then T. shawi would be the third largest Anhanguerian pterodactyl known worldwide.
This indicates that Australian pterosaurs rivaled contemporary species from other continents in size. Moreover, anatomical similarities between the jaws of T. Shawi and the jaws of other Australian pterosaurs suggest that there may have been a diversity of local pterosaur species around the Eromanga Sea.
“It is absolutely amazing that there are fossils of these animals.”Richards said.
“By world standards, the record for Australian pterosaurs is poor, but the discovery of Thapunngaca contributes significantly to our understanding of the diversity of Australian pterosaurs.”, shaded