The first record of a late Jurassic pterosaur, described as the ‘flying dragon’ by The New York Post, was recently discovered in Chile by Osvaldo Rojas, the director of the Atacama Desert Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Previously, these kinds of remains from this period were only found in North America. 

Although there is no evidence of ‘fire breathing’ abilities, the discovery of this creature in the Atacama Desert of Chile helped scientists paint a bigger picture regarding Gondwana and how much land masses have moved over the past 150 million years.

According to the APP archeological journal, the remains consist of the left humerus, a possible dorsal vertebra, and the shaft of a wing phalanx all related to the same individual. Reuters described the creature to have sported wings with a pointed tail and large outward facing teeth. John Jamison of Outsider described the “dragon” to be similar to the commonly known pterodactyl.

The Atacama Desert, a vast barren dry-land once submerged under the Pacific Ocean, has become an increasingly popular area for paleontology excavation.

The discovery suggests that migration took place between North and South America during the time of Gondwana, the ancient supercontinent. Even with a sparse amount of materials, studies show that the traits of the remains classify within the ‘clade Rhamphorhynchinae’ pterosaurs. This includes pterosaurs from the Jurassic era which are located in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Originally, the reptile’s remains were discovered in 2009. Recent studies have revealed that the rhamphorhynchine pterosaur discovery is “the oldest known pterosaur found in Chile,” according to Alarcons documentation in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. It is also the first of its kind to appear in the supercontinent Gondwana which later formed the southern landmasses.

Even though there is further research to be done on ‘why’ they migrated, Jhonatan Alarcon, head scientist of investigation from the University of Chile says, “this shows the distribution of the animals in this group was wider than what was known up to now”. 

As technology progresses, researchers have a variety of ways to get answers about the past as well as get an idea for the future.

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