Pterodactyl fossil found in Scotland: 170 million years and don’t hear them

The largest pterosaur fossil that lived in the Jurassic period was found on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. It is a vertebrate flying reptile fromwingspan of over 2.5 meters lived about 170 million years ago: from the north-west coast of the Dearc country – this is the Gaelic name attributed to it – it will be transferred to National Museums Scotland where it will be subjected to further analysis.

The first, very important data on what is commonly called pterodactyl have been published now on Current Biology by a team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh, National Museums Scotland, the Hunterian Museum of Glasgow, the University of St. Andrews and the Staffin Museum. The discovery took place four years ago near Brothers’ Point by a doctoral student, who, favored by the low tide, identified the jaw of the prehistoric animal that came out of the limestone layer of the rock.

From there began the race against time: before the tide rose, in fact, the group of scholars had to speed up the operations for the recovery of the fossil. With the help of diamond-tipped saws the job was completed on time.

An exceptional discovery“, defines the doctoral student Natalia Jagielska who will personally deal with the study of the pterosaur.”Such well-preserved pterosaurs are extremely rare and usually limited to a few rock formations in Brazil and China. Yet an incredibly preserved huge pterosaur has emerged from a tidal flat in Scotland“. And it is truly to be considered an exceptional discovery, especially taking into consideration what animal it is: given its size, the large bird prehistoric must have had a relatively low weight to be able to fly. Solution that nature has found in making its bones hollow: light, yes, but also very fragile and “unsuitable for storage for millions of years“.

The skeleton is miraculously intact, with “its sharp teeth to tear out the fish [che] they still retain a glossy enamel cover as if it were alive just a few weeks ago“And he showed that in the Jurassic period pterosaurs – or pterodactyls, as they prefer to say – were much larger than previously thought. 66 million years ago, in the Cretaceous, when dinosaurs went extinct, the Quetzalcoatlus species of the flying reptile had reached the size of a fighter aircraft, with a wingspan of 12 meters.

Scotland, and in particular the Isle of Skye, is rich in fossils of this type: experts believe it was a subtropical lagoon where various species of dinosaurs were born and lived. Also nearby Wales has recently been the scene of a significant discovery in paleontology, with the discovery of footprints left by a sauropod over 200 million years ago. As well as England, with the incredible specimen of sea dragon that dates back to the Jurassic. Just like Dearc.