Context: Scientists unveiled a new species of pterosaur, the plane-sized reptiles that lorded over primeval skies above T-rex, Triceratops and other dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous.
Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.
- With a wingspan of 10 m and weighing 250 kg, Cryodrakon boreas rivals another pterosaur as the largest flying animal of all time, researchers reported in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
- Its remains were first discovered more than 30 years ago in Alberta, Canada, yet elicited scant excitement because of the misclassification.
- But a closer look at the fossil remains of a juvenile and the intact giant neck bone of a full-grown specimen left no doubt that a new species had been discovered.
- Like other winged reptiles living at the same time, about 77 million years ago, C. boreas was carnivorous and probably fed on lizards, small mammals, and even baby dinosaurs.
- Despite a likely capacity to cross large bodies of water, the location of fossil remains and the animal’s features point to an inland habitat.
- There are more than 100 known species of pterosaurs.
- Despite their large size and wide distribution — across North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe — only fragmentary remains have been unearthed, making the new find especially important.