There seems to be a phase in every little kid’s life where they learn that dinosaurs were real and become obsessed. And some new fossil findings will probably lead to your kids’ new obsession with the pterosaur.
The New York Times reports that, after a police raid where 3,000 fossils were seized in a Brazilian port, one particularly important finding was “the most complete fossil of a species of a pterosaur ever found, providing new details about how the flying reptile might have looked and behaved some 110 million years ago.” And it’s really, really cool.
The fossils were found in 2013, but a study on the findings was published recently in PLOS ONE. The pterosaur fossils (and reconstructive imaginings, which you should definitely Google) are really cool to look at and different from everything we see in the world today. The dinosaur had a mohawk-style crest helmet-like thing that seemed obnoxiously large. Plus, it resembled a bird that didn’t have feathers but looked more like fur that stuck straight out. Pun rock!
“Its sprawling wingspan indicated that it almost certainly flew, but probably only for short distances because of its long neck and large crest,” The New York Times explains. “It most likely spent a good deal of time foraging on the ground, the researchers say.”
Researchers noted that finding a fossil specimen this complete and precisely one of the pterosaurs is rare. Moreover, although they’re technically dinosaurs, their bones were apparently very fragile, “even more so than birds, the researchers say.”
Now, we can’t know exactly what the dinosaur would have looked like all those hundreds of millions of years ago. But with a fossil this complete, which also had some soft tissue preserved, too, and the advancement of things like CT scans, experts are probably closer than ever to a somewhat accurate idea of what the pterosaurs would have looked like in real life.
And since this dinosaur looks like what a child would design when first learning about dinosaurs, we’re guessing it’s going to be a fast favorite.