107-Million-Year-Old Fossil Bones Uncovered In Australia

107-Million-Year-Old Fossil Bones Uncovered In Australia

SYDNEY, May 31 (NNN-AAP) – Scientists announced today that, an examination of 107-million-year-old fossils revealed, giant flying reptiles once soared Australia’s skies.

Two tiny fossils were found in the Australian state of Victoria in the 1980s, but researchers have only just confirmed its origin.

According to a study published in the journal Historical Biology, yesterday, researchers from Curtin University, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History, Monash University, and Museums Victoria Research Institute, confirmed the fossils are of pterosaur, the earliest known vertebrates to evolve true flight.

The fossils are a partial pelvis bone and a bone from the left wing, and both are small enough to fit in the palm of a hand.

Pterosaurs were flying reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era, and the bones are the oldest of its kind ever found in Australia.

“Pterosaurs are rare worldwide, and only a few remains have been discovered at what were high palaeolatitude locations, such as Victoria, so these bones give us a better idea as to where pterosaurs lived and how big they were,” said Adele Pentland, lead researcher and Ph.D. student from the Curtin University.

“By analysing these bones, we have also been able to confirm the existence of the first ever Australian juvenile pterosaur, which resided in the Victorian forests around 107 million years ago,” Pentland noted.

She pointed out that, during the Cretaceous Period (145-66 million years ago), Australia was further south than it is today, and the state of Victoria was within the polar circle covered in darkness for weeks on end during the winter.

“Despite these seasonally harsh conditions, it is clear that pterosaurs found a way to survive and thrive,” she added.

Tom Rich, co-author and senior curator of vertebrate palaeontology from Museums Victoria Research Institute, said that, it was rewarding to understand the origin of the fossils.

“These two fossils were the outcome of a labour intensive effort by more than 100 volunteers over a decade,” he said. “That effort involved excavating more than 60 metres of tunnel, where the two fossils were found in a seaside cliff at Dinosaur Cove.”– NNN-AAP  


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