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Ancient Jaw Bones Discovered in Sahara Help Scientists Identify New Pterodactyl

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posted on May, 26 2010 @ 10:37 AM
With the help of ancient fossils unearthed in the Sahara desert, scientists have identified a new type of pterosaur (giant flying reptile or pterodactyl) that existed about 95 million years ago.

Unearthed in three separate pieces, the jaw bone has a total length of 344mm (13.5 inches). Each piece is well preserved, uncrushed, and unlike most other pterosaur fossils, retains its original three dimension shape. "This pterosaur is distinguished from all others by its lance-shaped lower jaw which had no teeth and looked rather like the beak of a heron," says Nizar Ibrahim, a PhD research scholar from University College Dublin, who led the expedition and is the lead author on the scientific paper.

The scientists have named the new pterosaur Alanqa saharica from the Arabic word 'Al Anqa' meaning Phoenix, a mythological flying creature that dies in a fire and is reborn from the ashes of that fire.

On the same expedition, and in the same region as where the fossils of Alanqa saharica were uncovered, the scientists also discovered fossils of two other previously identified types of pterosaur.
This suggests that several types of pterosaurs lived alongside one another in the same region at the time, each probably specialising in a different ecological niche.

"When this pterosaur was alive, the Sahara desert was a river bed basin lush with tropical plant and animal life," explains Ibrahim. "This means there were lots of opportunities for different pterosaurs to co-exist, and perhaps feeding on quite different kinds of prey."

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 10:47 AM
I just love these finds. Proves to me that we just haven't dug down far enough or in the right places but someday....

But, every month it seems the diggers come up with more.

Good one.

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 11:59 AM
It's amazing to think that only 6000 years ago these things were flying around. =) Nah but it is astounding how we find new species seemingly everyday. IMO we haven't discovered even a fraction of a percent of our true past.

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 12:29 PM
I know!

It`s amazing how we discover new species, be it dinosaurs or nowadays` animals.
I used to have an entire collection of dinos when I was little!

[edit on 26/5/10 by sandri_90]

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 01:57 PM
reply to post by sandri_90
Cool thread SnF. The Sahara is like looking in a fat kid's pockets...full of hidden goodies.

The sands are always shifting and, from time to time, old worlds are exposed to the modern world. Here's some of my favourite images of discoveries in the Sahara...

6000-9000 year old petroglyph

Notice the leash coming from it's nose? At some point in the distant past, it appears the tribes of the Sahara had domesticated giraffes. That alone is worth thinking about. I'm always seeing the 'human angle,' This glyph will have taken many, many hours to complete. Drafting, sketching and then carving the limestone using tools made from harder stone and bone.

100 million year old dinosaur

Even allowing for the wide-angle lens, this critter is put in context by the people looking on. Huge and definitely carnivorous!

The photos were taken by Mike Hettwer and can be seen in their full glory in this excellent article...Green Sahara

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 05:37 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky


Those pictures are AMAZING!

Thank you!

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