Science

Never-before-seen pterosaur had nearly 500 teeth and ate like a flamingo

Never-before-seen pterosaur had nearly 500 teeth and ate like a flamingo

An artist’s illustration of what the newfound species of pterosaur (Balaenognathus maeuseri) may have looked like. (Image credit: Megan jacobs/University of Portsmouth)

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During the late Jurassic, a pterosaur with an unusually shaped bill lined with hundreds of tiny, hooked teeth stalked the waters of what is now Bavaria, Germany. The now-extinct animal likely gulped down its seafood prey while wading in ancient ponds and lakes, just like flamingos chow down today, a new study shows. 

The newfound species was accidentally unearthed at an abandoned mine in the Franconian Jura area of Bavaria, a hotspot for pterosaur fossils. The researchers had been attempting to uncover crocodile bones from a limestone slab when they stumbled across the new specimen, which was incredibly well preserved and contained a near-complete skeleton along with some intact ligaments. The remains are likely between 157 million and 152 million years old, based on the surrounding sediments. 

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