Sunday, January 23, 2011

Female pterosaur found with preserved egg

An international team of paleontologists found a pterosaur in China beautifully preserved with an egg (Read more here: BBC News - Fossil female pterosaur found with preserved egg).

The egg indicates this ancient flying reptile was a female, and that realisation has allowed researchers to sex these creatures for the first time. Researchers now have to revise their previous concept that only males sported a head-crest. The researchers speculate she may have fallen from the sky during a storm or perhaps a volcanic eruption, sunk to the bottom of a lake and then been preserved in the sediments.
Pterosaurs, also sometimes referred to as pterodactyls, dominated the skies in the Mesozoic Era, 220-65 million years ago. Unlike the dinosaurs who lived at the same time, they were not dinosaurs themselves - a common misconception.
Pterosaurs weighed up to 500 pounds (227 kilograms). They probably took powerful leaping launches in less than a second from flat ground, with no aid from wind or ledges (Read more here). While airborne, pterosaurs took flight using all fours, not just their front extremities like birds.

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