Newly discovered pterosaur fossil in Australia with 23-feet wingspan, spear-like mouth was closest thing to a real-life dragon, scientist says
[YouTube Screenshots/Fair Use/Credit: RT AMERICA]

The fossil remains of a flying reptile species with dagger-like teeth and a wingspan of over 23ft, was discovered on Wanamara Country in Northwest Queensland.  

The new pterosaur discovery was christened Thapunngaka Shawi and lived over 105 million years ago in what is now known as the Queensland outback.   

Scientists add that the new fossil belongs to a group of pterosaurs called Anhanguerians. 

The team says these creatures were found on every continent during the last days of the Age of Dinosaurs

Pterosaurs had generally hollow bones which were perfectly adapted for flying. Unfortunately, this makes finding fossils of them incredibly rare.

After analyzing the newly discovered creature’s jaw bone, paleontologists from the University of Queensland determined that the flying reptile was Australia’s most significant pterosaur, just by its sheer size alone.   

‘It was essentially just a skull with a long neck, bolted on a pair of long wings,’ said study author Tim Richards in a media release, adding ‘this thing would have been quite savage.’ 

Dr. Steve Salisbury, the co-author of the study and Richard’s Ph.D. supervisor, says the pterosaur’s jaw may have played a vital role in the reptile’s ability to fly. 

Researchers discovered a massive bony crest on its lower jaw and believed one appeared on its upper jaw.

“The genus name, Thapunngaka, incorporates thapun [ta-boon] and ngaka [nga-ga], the Wanamara words for ‘spear’ and ‘mouth,’ respectively,” Dr. Salisbury concludes. 

“The species name, shawi, honors the fossil’s discoverer Len Shaw, so the name means ‘Shaw’s spear mouth.'”

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