A huge stash of thousands of fossils was discovered in an old lake deposit on the outskirts of Cruzeiro do Oeste located in the southern state of Parana.
What has researchers so excited? In this stash of fossils is a new species of Upper Cretaceous pterosaur. Even crazier? They found fragments of 47 individual fossils. Typically, researchers find just fragments of one specimen. 47 is unheard of. Researchers estimate the final tally will number in the hundreds.
The research paper highlighted where most pterosaurs usually called home. “Most pterosaurs are known from ancient coastal or shallow marine deposits and the number of species that lived deep inside the continents is limited, particularly from desert environments,” reads the paper published in the journal PLOS One.
This new species of pterosaur has been dubbed Caiuajara dobruskii. The specimens found came in various stages of development. From young, with wingspans of 0.65 meters, to adult, with wingspans of 2.35 meters.
The pile of new pterosaur bones were found in a grave about 20 square meters large. This close proximity coupled with the various stages of the specimens suggests the species lived in families.
Researchers believe the location of the grave site used to be an oasis. A perfect environment for the Caiuajara dobruskii. It’s also believed the species lived here for a long time.
“Episodic events (e.g., desert storms) likely carried the disarticulated and partially articulated skeletons to the bottom of the lake where they got eventually preserved. The presence of three main levels of accumulation in a section of less than one meter suggests that this region was home to pterosaur populations for an extended period of time,” according to the paper.
Migration is another theory being thrown around, but researchers are sticking with the notion this pterosaur lived in the area on a more permanent basis.
Image Credit: PLOS One research paper