The new specimen of the ancient flying reptile, called a pterosaur, was about thirty feet long—about the length of a school bus. This makes the creature the largest pterodactyl that has been found in South America. According to researchers, reptiles are larger than birds, and therefore they are one of the first creatures on Earth that used their wings to chase their prey.
Paleontologists discovered fossils from Thanatosdracon Amaro (literal translation: dragon of death) in the Andes Mountains in the Mendoza province of western Argentina. They found that the rocks that contained reptile fossils dated back to about 86 million years ago. This was 20 million years ago, before an asteroid impact wiped out three-quarters of life on Earth.
Leonardo Ortiz, head of the fossil search project, said the fossil’s unprecedented features require a new name for the genus and species. Plus the ancient Greek words for death (Thanos) and the dragon (Dragon) are used. “It seemed appropriate to call it that,” Ortiz said. “The creature looked terrifying.”
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