Archaeologists unearth a 96 million-year-old fossil skeleton of a pterosaur from a sheep farm in Australia.
According to Independent, paleontologists believe that the skeleton belonged to a winged lizard , one of the first vertebrates to fly.
Ancient pterosaurs in Australia have razor sharp jaws.
Based on the results of an analysis of the fossil skeleton, archaeologists discovered the creature once had a 4-meter-long stride, a 60cm-long head, and a slender jaw with razor-sharp teeth.
'Based on comparison with other pterosaurs, we can conclude that this creature is a winged predator , ' said Adele Pentland, a paleontologist at Swinburne University in Australia. The scientists then recreated the shape of the creature through scans.
The researchers named this winged lizard Ferrodraco in Latin, meaning 'iron dragon'.
Bob Elliot, a sheep farmer, digs part of a fossil skeleton in Winton, Queensland. Elliot informed the local museum and volunteered to unearth the farm to look for more fossils.
Fossils are currently on display at the Dinosaur Museum in Australia.
Pentland helped synthesize the findings on the farm and publish the information in a scientific journal. Pentland says the winged reptile lived in Winton 96 million years ago.'96 million years ago, this area was all coniferous forest with floodplains and river networks. '
'The forest is also home to long neck dinosaurs, carnivorous dinosaurs and many other dinosaurs,' Pentland said. Notably, Tyrannosaurus Tyrannosaurus also lived here.
There are about 15 long neck dinosaur fossils found in Australia. In the latest discovery, scientists found 30 fossil bones of 'iron dragons'.
Museum co-founder David Elliott said the discovery was one of the most valuable additions.
'The Winton area contains a multitude of dinosaur fossils, and the emergence of giant pterosaurs is remarkable for science, education and tourism , ' Elliott said.