The finding is significant because it originated in Brazil and is the only example of the Chaoyangopteridae, a group of toothless pterosaurs, to be found outside China and is the largest one ever discovered.
Mark Witton identified the creature from a partial skull fossil from which he was able to estimate that it would have had a five-metre wingspan – bigger than a family car - and would stand over one metre tall at the shoulder.
He said: “Some of the previous examples we have from this family in China are just 60 centimetres long – as big as the skull of the new species. Put simply, it dwarfs any chaoyangopterid we’ve seen before by miles.”
Witton has christened the new species Lacusovagus, meaning ‘lake wanderer’, after the large body of water in which the remains were buried. The findings were published in the journal Palaeontology in November.
He was asked to examine the specimen which had lain in a German museum for several years after its discovery in the Crato Formation of the Araripe Basin in North East Brazil, an area well known for the its fossils and their excellent state of preservation. However, he said that this fossil was preserved in an unusual way, making its interpretation difficult.
“Usually fossils like this are found lying on their sides but this one was lying on the roof of its mouth and had been rather squashed which made even figuring out whether it had teeth difficult. Still, it’s clear to see that Lacusovagus had an unusually wide skull which has implications for its feeding habits – maybe it liked particularly large prey. The remains are very fragmentary, however, so we need more specimens before we can draw any conclusions.”
Witton said: “The discovery of something like this in Brazil - so far away from its closest relatives in China - demonstrates how little we actually know about the distribution and evolutionary history of this fascinating group of creatures.”
Lisa Egan | alfa
Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America
Ice stream draining Greenland Ice Sheet sensitive to changes over past 45,000 years
14.05.2018 | Oregon State University
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology