'Flying dragon' roamed the southern skies too: Scientiststext_fields
Scientists have unearthed the fossil remains of "flying dragon", a Jurassic era dinosaur, in Chile's Atacama Desert, Reuters reported.
The flying dinosaur was previously known to have existed only in the northern hemisphere. It belonged to a group of early pterosaurs that lived 160 million years ago. It has a long pointed tail, wings and sharp, outward-pointing teeth.
The fossil remains were found by Osvaldo Rojas, director of the Atacama Desert Museum of Natural History and Culture. It was further investigated by the scientists at the University of Chile. The details of the discovery, linking them with the Southern Hemisphere, has been published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.
Jhonatan Alarcon, the scientist who led the investigation, said that the discovery shows that the distribution of animals in this group was broader than what was known up to now.
This is evidence to close ties and possible migration between the northern and southern hemispheres when most of the world's southerly landmasses were believed to be joined in a supercontinent called Gondwana, he said.
He further said that there were pterosaurs of this group in Cuba, which apparently were coastal animals. They must have migrated between the North and the South or could have come once and stayed.
The Atacama Desert was once largely submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean, is a moonscape of sand and stone now. The region, which haven's seen rain for decades, is a hotspot for fossil discoveries; many remain untouched in remote areas, not far beneath the surface.