They discover a new species of pterosaur thanks to fossil footprints

Illustration of the new species of pterosaur discovered in China

Illustration of the new species of pterosaur discovered in China

The discovery of 114 footprint fossils of dinosaurs, found in rocks in northwest China, has been confirmed as traces left by pterosaurs 135 million years ago.

The site with dinosaur footprints, which only covers an area of ​​30 square centimeters, is located in the Junggar Basin, where scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Academy of Sciences of China They have discovered 57 handprints and as many footprints since 2006, which indicates that the authors of the marks were quadrupeds.

After studying the main characteristics, such as the length of the fingers, the scientists identified that the tracks were different from those left by 15 other known species of pterosaurs. Therefore, they proposed a new species called Pteraichnus wuerhoensis, dating back to the Lower Cretaceous period.

The study was published online in the international magazine PeerJ.

According to Li Yang, lead researcher on the paper, the varied sizes of these footprints suggest the tracks are from animals of different ages and provide evidence that pterosaurs lived in groups.

"The Wuerhe region was dotted with large lakes at the time. Pterosaurs left numerous footprints, most likely because they went to the lakes in search of food," Li said, quoted by Xinhua.


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