Saturday, 22 January 2011

New Pterosaur find

21 January 2011 Fossil female pterosaur found with preserved egg
By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News
For fossil hunters, it represents one of those breakthrough moments.A pterosaur has been found in China beautifully preserved with an 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.Writing in Science magazine, the palaeontologists make some broad statements about gender differences in pterosaurs, including the observation that only males sported a head-crest.David Unwin, a palaeobiologist in the Department of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, was part of the research team. He told the BBC the discovery was astonishing: "If somebody had said to me a few years back that we would find this kind of association, I would just have laughed and said, 'yeah, maybe in a million years', because these sorts of things are incredibly rare." Pterosaurs, also sometimes referred to as pterodactyls, dominated the skies in the Mesozoic Era, 220-65 million years ago. Although reptiles like the dinosaurs were plodding on the ground below them, they were not actually dinosaurs themselves - a common misconception.This particular specimen has been dated to about 160 million years ago.

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