The pterosaur had a wingspan of about four metres, and when on the ground walked on its four limbs. 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. The species also is named after Graham Thomas 'Butch' Lenton, who was the mayor of Winton.
Only small parts of 15 different pterosaurs have been found in Australia. Ferrodraco is the most complete specimen found. Scientists have been able to identify five vertebrae, eight limb bones, a large part of the jaw and skull, and 40 teeth. They believe that the pterosaur lived about 96 million years ago. That is in the Upper Cretaceous.
The fossil is similar to pterosaurs found in England, except that it has much smaller teeth. This might be because of the type of food it ate, perhaps a diet of fish. Bones of pterosaurs were thin, and hollow, and because of this, very few have survived.
Winton is well known as an area where dinosaur fossils are found, but this was the first pterosaur discovered here.
References[change | change source]
- 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
- 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