Saturday, October 01, 2016

New Pterosaur Species Found, Scientists Delighted

New Pterosaur Species Found, Scientists Delighted

PeerJ

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A team of scientists is excited to announce the discovery of the well-preserved cranial remains of a new species of pterosaur in the Patagonia region of South America. In a statement released on Aug. 30, scientists named this Early Jurassic reptile Allkauren koi, which means brain (all) and ancient (karuen) in the native Tehuelche language.

The team found Allkaruen koi in northern central Chubut Province, Patagonia in Argentina. The excavated remains include a decently preserved and uncrushed braincase.

The researchers then employed computed tomography to analyze the findings, particularly the cranial endocast and the inner ear, in three dimensions. Next, they conducted a phylogenetic analysis of other pterosaur species, including their cranial data as well as their other anatomical traits.

“Allkaruen, from the middle lower Jurassic limit, shows an intermediate state in the brain evolution of pterosaurs and their adaptations to the aerial environment,” points out team member Diego Pol. “As a result, this research makes an important contribution to the understanding of the evolution of all pterosaurs.”

The pterosaurs, which Allkauren koi belonged to, are an extinct species of flying reptiles that inhabited the Earth during the Mesozoic Era. Scientists describe their adaptation to flight as extraordinary.

They had pneumatic bones to reduce their weight as well as long digits that supported their wing membrane. Although these reptiles are famous, not a lot is known about their neuroanatomy.

It turns out that there have only been three remains that were not enough to offer scientists more details about their neuroanatomy. Fortunately, the new excavated remains can help experts understand more about pterosaurs’ intermediate forms, which the research team believes will offer us new knowledge on the origin, tempo and mode of evolution of these reptiles.

Recently, a tourist guide found a dinosaur footprint in Bolivia. The footprint, one of the largest ones ever found, belonged to the carnivorous abelisaurus, measuring 1.2 meters across.