Skip to comments.Caelestiventus hanseni: Newly-Discovered Triassic Pterosaur Lived in Harsh Desert
Posted on 08/19/2018 11:53:24 AM PDT by ETL
Pterosaurs were giant flying reptiles that flew over the heads of the dinosaurs. Soaring on skin wings supported by a single huge finger, they were the largest animals ever to take wing.
Originating in the Late Triassic epoch (around 215 million years ago), they thrived to the end of the Cretaceous period (66 million years ago).
Triassic pterosaurs are extraordinarily rare and are known exclusively from marine deposits in the Alps (Italy, Austria and Switzerland), except for Arcticodactylus cromptonellus from fluvial deposits in Greenland.
The new Triassic pterosaur is from the Saints & Sinners Quarry near Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
Named Caelestiventus hanseni, the ancient flying reptile was comparatively large (wing span over 5 feet, or 1.5 m) and lived in harsh desert environments.
It is the only record of desert-dwelling non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs. It predates all known desert pterosaurs by more than 65 million years.
Were getting insights into the beginning of pterosaus. Ours shows that theyre extraordinarily diverse, said Brigham Young Universitys Dr. Brooks Britt.
Rather than trying to extricate the thin bones from the sandstone, Dr. Britt and colleagues CT scanned the specimen and created 3D models of the bones for study.
Most Triassic specimens consist of just a single bone: for example, a little phalanx from a finger or one vertebra from the neck, Dr. Britt said.
For this animal, we have the sides of the face and the complete roof of the skull, including the brain case, complete lower jaws and part of the wing.
Caelestiventus hansenis 3D bones provide insights into the evolution of the earliest pterosaurs especially the skull. ..."
Furthermore, the skull roof preserves the impression of the brain, which reveals that even early pterosaurs had a poor sense of smell and well-developed vision.
(Excerpt) Read more at sci-news.com ...
I once saw an Andean Condor fly over the streets of Lima, Peru from the little balcony of the hotel I was staying in. At a distance I thought it was a small airplane, but when it got closer, about eye level or a bit below my level, I realized it was a bird. Close up, with wings fully extended, gliding along, they are truly huge, far larger than I’d imagined. And this creature was bigger than that.
Oh, he’s cute.
Wow. Thanks for sharing that. Must have been some sight.
The closest I’ve ever got to that experience was seeing one at the zoo standing in the corner looking all depressed. It was in what looked like a jail cell.
Thanks ETL. Good one for the weekly digest. Bird bird, the bird is the word.
Wow, check out the teeth and muscular neck and jaws. I imagine that thing swooping down and clamping onto the back of your neck might do some damage.
Have they discovered Festivus Fortherestuvus yet?....................
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