In the region of Patagonia, scientists uncovered the remains of an unidentified species of the “winged lizard:” the Pterosaur.
The discovery will shine a light on a species that lives in relative obscurity. It is known the Pterosaur roamed the earth and its skies during the Jurassic Period, somewhere between 199.6-175.6 million years ago. The fossilized remains that were found in Patagonia depict a Pterosaur caught in the middle of evolution as researchers found a fully intact brain case, a rarity in the archaeological field. And so, the name of the newly discovered Pterosaur species? Allkaruen Koi. “The Ancient Brain.”
“Allkaruen, from the middle lower Jurassic limit, shows an intermediate state in the brain evolution of pterosaurs and their adaptations to the aerial environment,” Diego Pol, a paleontologist at the Argentinian Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, said. “As a result, this research makes an important contribution to the understanding of the evolution of all of pterosaurs.”
Which is a benefit for scientists, because the Pterosaur has one of the most astounding biological makeups of any flying creature. At their largest, the Pterosaur could reach a wingspan of over 30 feet and exceeded 600 pounds, according to LiveScience. But more times than not they resembled the size of a seagull. What is truly exceptional is their bone structure, which is described as “feather-light” because of their pneumatic make-up. This allows them to maintain the skies even if the occasional Pterosaur exceeds that 600-pound mark.
Unlike many birds today, however, Pterosaurs and humans share an oddly similar quality. Much of the Pterosaurs’ wingspan is attributed to an extended digit, a finger, if you will. To be more specific, this finger of theirs is what the ring finger is to us, the fourth on their “hand,” though more extended than a human’s. This allowed the Pterosaur to “walk” on all fours while on land, and to engage in flight they would leap into the air off of all fours.
While much is known about the physical anatomy of the Pterosaur, there are still many questions about the evolution of its brain. Thankfully, because of the fully intact brain-case, scientists can begin answering those questions with in-depth studies and analysis.
The finding comes within the same month as a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull being uncovered in Montana and then a separate T. Rex skeleton in the Netherlands.
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