The discovery of new fossils indicates that giant dragons flew around the Earth alongside dinosaurs 86 million years ago.
Scientists in Argentina have discovered a new species of flying reptile that has long been a school bus known as the ‘Death Dragon’.
A study was published online in April detailing the findings in Scientific Journal Cretaceous Research.
a Reconstruction of a pterosaur – and accompanying images on social media – on display in Mendoza, ArgentinaRecently, attention was drawn to the study. Pterosaurs, also known as Thanatosdracon amaru, are believed to have preceded birds as the first creatures with wings to hunt their prey. “Dragon of death” is a combination of the Greek words for death (Thanatos) and dragon (Dracun).
“The Thanatosdracon remains show different characteristics that allow us to distinguish them from other known pterosaurs,” project leader Leonardo Ortiz told USA TODAY. “Essentially, these characteristics are found in the vertebrae and limbs. This allowed us to create a new type of pterosaur.”
Biggest Raptor ever? Fossils of ‘shadow of death’ dinosaurs discovered in Argentina
A team of paleontologists found fossils in the Andes Mountains in Argentina’s western Mendoza Province, noting that the rocks preserved the remains of reptiles dating back 86 million years to the Cretaceous period, according to the study. This was 20 million years ago before an asteroid impact wiped out three-quarters of life on Earth.
The team also classified the pterosaur fossil as the largest fossil discovered in South America and one of the largest in the world.
Although scientists have put pterosaurs in the same category as birds due to their ability to fly, It’s hard to classify them because they were cold-blooded predators. They had no competitors in the sky, so pterosaurs are believed to have ruled all continents and evolved into different shapes and sizes.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The discovery of fossils of a reptile bird “dragon of death” in Argentina