Scientists in Chile have discovered the fossil of a so-called “flying dragon” dinosaur — the first of its kind found in the southern hemisphere.
The Jurassic-era creature, an early pterosaur, was found by paleontologists in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
The “dragon,” which roamed the earth 160 million years ago, has a long pointed tail, wings and sharp, protruding pointed teeth.
The remains, previously only ever found in North America, were unearthed by Osvaldo Rojas, director of the Atacama Desert Museum of Natural History and Culture.
The discovery suggests migration of the species between North and South America which are believed to have been linked in a supercontinent called Gondwana.
“This shows the distribution of the animals in this group was wider than what was known up to now,” Jhonatan Alarcon, a University of Chile scientist who led the investigation, told Reuters.
”There are pterosaurs of this group also in Cuba, which apparently were coastal animals, so most likely they have migrated between the North and the South or maybe they came once and stayed, we don’t know,” Alarcon said.
The Atacama Desert has become a hotspot for fossil discoveries. The barren, martian-looking landscape was submerged by sea waters in prehistoric times.
Detail of the discovery were published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.