Ferrodraco

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Ferrodraco lentoni, "Lenton's Iron Dragon", is a species of pterosaur. The only known fossil of the pterosaur was found in 2017 north east of Winton, Queensland, Australia.[1][2]

The pterosaur had a wingspan of about four metres, and when on the ground walked on its four limbs.[1] The name, Ferrodraco lentoni, comes from the Latin word, ferrum (iron), for the ironstone in which the fossil was found, and draco, the Latin word for dragon.[2] The species also is named after Graham Thomas 'Butch' Lenton, who was the mayor of Winton.[2]

Only small parts of 15 different pterosaurs have been found in Australia. Ferrodraco is the most complete specimen found.[1] Scientists have been able to identify five vertebrae, eight limb bones, a large part of the jaw and skull, and 40 teeth.[1] They believe that the pterosaur lived about 96 million years ago.[1] That is in the Upper Cretaceous.

The fossil is similar to pterosaurs found in England, except that it has much smaller teeth.[1] This might be because of the type of food it ate, perhaps a diet of fish.[1] Bones of pterosaurs were thin, and hollow, and because of this, very few have survived.[2]

Winton is well known as an area where dinosaur fossils are found, but this was the first pterosaur discovered here.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Larkins, Damien, and Lyons, Susannah, 'A new pterosaur, or prehistoric flying reptile species, has been discovered in outback Queensland', ABC News, 4 October 2019, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-04/new-pterosaur-flying-reptile-discovered-outback-queensland/11571756, accessed 4 October 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pentland, Adele, and others, 'Ferrodraco lentoni gen. et sp. nov., a new ornithocheirid pterosaur from the Winton Formation (Cenomanian–lower Turonian) of Queensland, Australia', Scientific reports, Nature.com, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-49789-4, accessed 4 October 2019