Chinese pterodactyl wings its way to the United Kingdom

Related Articles

Related Articles

The first ever specimen of a pterodactyl, more commonly found in China and Brazil, has been found in the United Kingdom.

A fossil hunter recently discovered a peculiar shaped fragment of fossil bone while out walking his dog in Sandown Bay on the Isle of Wight.

Not sure what it was, he passed it to University of Portsmouth Palaeontology student Megan Jacobs, who thought it might be the jaw bone from a pterodactyl. Further research proved she was right.

 

However, this was no ordinary pterodactyl jaw. This one lacked teeth and was remarkably similar to a bizarre group of pterosaurs called ‘tapejarids’. They are better known from China and Brazil and have never previously been found in the UK.

Just last year a team from the University of Portsmouth discovered as similar specimen in North Africa (Morocco) which they named Afrotapejara.

The new specimen from the Isle of Wight has been named Wightia declivirostris.

Megan Jacobs said: “Although only a fragment of jaw, it has all the characteristic of a tapejarid jaw, including numerous tiny little holes that held minute sensory organs for detecting their food, and a downturned, finely pointed beak.

“Complete examples from Brazil and China show that they had large head crests, with the crest sometime being twice as big as the skull. The crests were probably used in sexual display and may have been brightly coloured.”

The researchers determined that the Isle of Wight example seemed more closely related to the Chinese tapejarids rather than the Brazilian examples.

Co-author of the study Professor David Martill, a palaeontologist from the University of Portsmouth, said: “This new species adds to the diversity of dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles found on the Island, which is now one of the most important places for Cretaceous dinosaurs in the world.”

The finder has kindly donated the specimen to Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown, where it is hoped it will go on display in the future.

UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH

Header Image – The attached image shows Wightia declivirostris flying over an oxbow lake in the valley of the ancient Wessex River that flowed from Devon to the Isle of Wight. Image Credit : Megan Jacobs

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Study Reveals Ancient Viking Waterway Through the Orkney Mainland

Archaeologists have discovered a lost Viking waterway that ran through the Orkney mainland, connecting the North Atlantic with the Scapa Flow, where Vikings are believed to have anchored their longships.

Geologists Publish New Findings on Carbonate Melts in Earth’s Mantle

Geologists from Florida State University's Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science have discovered how carbon-rich molten rock in the Earth's upper mantle might affect the movement of seismic waves.

Study Detects Cinnabar and Hematite in Murals From Early Teotihuacan

Archaeologists and a multi-discipline team of researchers find traces of cinnabar, a bright scarlet to brick-red form of mercury sulfide (HgS), and hematite in a mural in the Quetzalpapálotl Complex at Teotihuacan.

Intact Inca Underwater Offering Discovered in Lake Titicaca

Archaeologists conducting research at Lake Titicaca on the border between Peru and Bolivia, have discovered an intact underwater offering deposited over 500 years ago that sheds new light on the lake’s place in Inca culture.

Archaeologists Identify Ancient Wealth Gap

An international team of archaeologists have discovered that a wealth gap existed in the Neolithic, around 6,600-years-ago.

A Giant Crane From Southern Germany

Researchers from Frankfurt and Tübingen say the skull of a very large crane found at the Hammerschmiede fossil site in Allgäu, Bavaria, is more than eleven million years old.

When Mammals Ate Dinosaurs

The cervical rib of a long-necked dinosaur from northwest China provides the oldest known evidence to date that early mammals fed on dinosaur meat around 160 million years ago.

Early Mars Was Covered in Ice Sheets, Not Flowing Rivers

A large number of the valley networks scarring Mars's surface were carved by water melting beneath glacial ice, not by free-flowing rivers as previously though.

Popular stories

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.

Did Corn Fuel Cahokia’s Rise?

A new study suggests that corn was the staple subsistence crop that allowed the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to rise to prominence and flourish for nearly 300 years.

The Real Dracula?

“Dracula”, published in 1897 by the Irish Author Bram Stoker, introduced audiences to the infamous Count and his dark world of sired vampiric minions.