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Fossil of giant flying reptile found in Scotland

A pterosaur fossil from the Jurassic era has been unearthed on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. According to the University of Edinburgh website, the huge winged monster with an estimated wingspan of more than 2.5 metres existed roughly 170 million years ago.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, National Museums Scotland, the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, the University of St Andrews, and the Staffin Museum on the Isle of Skye have published a study in Current Biology confirming the discovery. The creature has been dubbed Dearc sgiathanach, which means ‘winged reptile’ in Scottish Gaelic.

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Amelia Penny discovered the amazing fossil during a class trip in 2017. On a tidal platform, Penny noticed its mouth emerging from the limestone layer. After much work, it was finally retrieved and studied. Dearc had wide optic lobes on a CT scan of its head, indicating strong eyesight.

Even 50 million years before birds, pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to have the flying ability. The discovery of Dearc has proved that pterosaurs evolved to be the size of fighter aircraft right before dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago. They were formerly thought to be smaller throughout the Jurassic period.


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