Fossils of oldest flying reptile found in Texas

March 2nd, 2011 - 4:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 2 (IANS) Fossils discovered in Texas from a flying reptile known as pteranodon that died 89 million years ago may be the oldest of its kind in the world.

Pteranodon, a type of pterosaur (flying repitle) lived about the same time as some dinosaurs, about 100 million to 65 million years ago. The only reptiles to dominate the ancient skies, they had broad leathery wings and slim torsos.

This likely pteranodon specimen is the first of its kind found in Texas, according to paleontologist Timothy S. Myers from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, who identified the reptile, the Journal of Paleontology reports.

The specimen was discovered north of Dallas by an amateur fossil hunter who found various bones belonging to the left wing, according to a statement from the university.

The specimen identified by Myers is an adult pterosaur of the toothless variety and, while larger than most birds, was not among the largest pterosaurs, Myers said, noting it had a wing span between 12 and 13 feet (3.6 to 4 metres).

Pterosaurs, many of which survived on fish, lived at a time when a massive ancient sea cut across the central US. More than a thousand pteranodon fossils have been unearthed from the middle part of the seaway, the report says quoting the university.

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