Scientists Discover Tiny Pterodactyl

By Courtney Flannery 2014-04-28 08:27:33
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Dinosaurs are infinitely cooler than any animal living today. Their size alone is absolutely more than I can compute, and who wouldn't want a pet that you could ride to school? When there's new dinosaur news, you better believe I am on that right away. So when I heard researchers discovered a new flying dino, I was very excited.

According to National Geographic, scientists discovered a dinosaur named Kryptodrakon progenitor . This species of dinosaur is thought to be the oldest pterodactyl ever discovered. The fossils were aged at around 163 million years, pushing back this creature's timeline by about five million years. This dinosaur seems to be the grandpa to a lot more species of pterodactyls.

This little dude had a wingspan of about 4.5 feet, and to me looks about the size of a big bird like a falcon. Not exactly the most intimidating of dinosaurs, but still awesome. Its name means hidden serpent and is apparently an homage to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. To me, it sounds a lot like crypto dragon, a computer wizard dinosaur working incognito for the CIA. The dinosaur's remains were found in China back in 2001 in pretty rough shape. They discovered the bones in a pit full of tons of dino pieces that used to be quicksand. It's a place where many discoveries have been made and will continue as they excavate more remains.

Researchers combined all the small pieces of Kryptodrakon over the course of several years to get a better picture of what the creature looked like. Interestingly, they at first believed the bones to belong to a theropod, or a two legged land roaming dinosaur. Once they found the ever important wing bits, they realized they had made a mistake. The fossils left behind by pterodactyls are generally very fragile, so it's an amazing find that they could reconstruct this critter so well. Not much is known about that species of dinosaur, but this guy seems to be a step in the evolutionary chain leading up to its behemoth cousins years later.

The coolest thing I think about Kryptodrakon is that even though it could fly, it may have preferred land life and roaming forests. The palaeontologists found that its wing bones are much broader than other pterodactyl fossils discovered, and since it was found on land, it's likely it spent a lot of time there and not cruising over oceans. As a fan of dinosaurs, I can't wait for more research to be done on this little guy and more discoveries to be made. There has got to be millions more dinosaurs that haven't been found. And if we can ever reanimate these guys, I will be the first one in line to get one as a pet and real life cosplay as Daenerys for the rest of my life.
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