Fossils Of "Dragon Of Death" Unearthed In Argentina: Report

A team of researchers in Argentina has found the fossilised remnants of the largest Pterosaur species ever found in South America.

Fossils Of 'Dragon Of Death' Unearthed In Argentina: Report

The findings gained prominence recently after images of Pterosaur appeared on social media.

A team of researchers in Argentina has found the fossilised remnants of the largest Pterosaur species ever found in South America. Dubbed "Dragon of Death" by paleontologists, the fossils from the azhdarchid were discovered in the Andes mountains of Argentina's Mendoza province.

These huge animals lived towards the end of the Cretaceous period (approximately 146 million to 66 million years ago).

Researchers said that the wingspan of these creatures - which were believed to be as long as a school bus - measured about 30 feet (9 metres).

A total of 40 bones and fragments were discovered by the paleontologists, according to a study published online in April detailed the findings in the scientific journal Cretaceous Research.

The findings gained prominence recently after reconstruction of the images appeared on social media.

The Pterosaur was also known as Thanatosdrakon amaru, which predated birds as the first creatures with wings to hunt their prey. It is a combination of Greek words for death (Thanatos) and dragon (drakon).

In pictures circulating online, the animal is depicted in three dimensions by many well-preserved axial and appendicular bones.  

Some of these features (such as the entire norarium, dorsosacral vertebrae, and caudal vertebra) have never been documented in large azhdarchids, allowing researchers to learn more about the anatomy of this unique group of Pterosaurs.

"Azhdarchids were known for their very large skulls - sometimes larger than their bodies - as well as their hyper-elongated necks and short, robust bodies," Leonardo D Ortiz David, lead author of the new study, told LiveScience.

Thanatosdrakon was discovered in floodplain deposits of ephemeral meandering channels, showing that this huge flying animal occupied continental habitats from a paleoecological view.

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