Largest flying animal in history identified

James Marshall
September 11, 2019

Writing in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the researchers described the new find as Cryodrakon boreas, from the azhdarchid group of pterosaurs.

Cryodrakon belonged to the azhdarchids family of pterosaurs, known for having long necks.

A new species of giant flying reptile that soared 75 million years ago over what is now North America has been identified by scientists studying a cache of bones unearthed in Canada. As one professional mentioned, think about a "giant flying murder head". It might develop to about 13 toes tall, with a wingspan of as much as 30 toes, making it one of many largest flying animals ever. But it was assumed by paleontologists that the remain belonged to an already known species of pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus that was discovered in Texas, USA.

The remains consist of a skeleton that has part of the wings, legs, neck and rib originally assigned to Quetzalcoatlus.

They made the discovery by re-inspecting a collection of bones which manufactured up a partial skeleton which had been previously dug up from Dinosaur Provincial Park in Southern Alberta.

These pterosaurs from the Cretaceous period are often incorrectly called pterodactyls.

The Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur had a wingspan of 12 metres, by comparison, and weighed 250 kilograms.

The invention could sound like one thing out of Westeros, however "Game of Thrones" followers should not get too excited: In line with researchers, Cryodrakon regarded much less like Daenerys Targaryen's fire-breathing dragons than it did a giraffe-size, reptilian stork.

Though Azhdarchids could fly across oceans - members of the group have been found in Cretaceous deposits in North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Europe - they were uniquely adapted to inland settings. It had no chewing equipment, so it might seemingly eat no matter was sufficiently small to go down the gullet, together with lizards, mammals and child dinosaurs.

"We didn't have many other good fossils of Azhdarchid pterosaurs to compare it to, and in particular, we didn't have - and still don't - a good description of Quetzalcoatlus", David Hone, lead author of the study from Queen Mary University of London, told UPI in an email.

Although the reptile was named in honour of the Albertan winter, "which can be stark and lovely but is very much cold and windy", Hone said, the environment during the Cretaceous period was much different.

An undated handout picture released by the Queen Mary University of London on September 10, 2019, shows a fossil of a neck bone of a full-grown Cryodrakon boreas, a newly discovered species of pterosaur.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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