A new extinct species of flying reptile has been officially named Petrodactyle wellnhoferi

A new species of prehistoric flying reptile with a huge bony crest on its skull was recently discovered by scientists from the UK, America and Germany. The creature, named Petrodactyle wellnhoferi, is part of a group of pterosaurs known as Ctenochasmatidae. It was found in Bavaria, Germany and its name is a tribute to German paleontologist Peter Wellnhofer. Petrodactyle wellnhoferi is distinguished from other pterosaurs by its complete and detailed skeleton.

The most amazing feature of Petrodactyle wellnhoferi is its huge bony crest. Crests are a characteristic feature of many pterosaurs and are often used for mating. However, Petrodactyle wellnhoferi’s crest is the largest of any known ctenochasmatid. The research team notes that when this creature was alive, the crest would have been even larger, as it had dermal outgrowths attached to it.

Dr. David Hawn, lead author of the study, explains that the use of ultraviolet light allowed the researchers to better see the details of the specimen. This method was particularly useful because the bones and stone have the same coloration in natural light. Renee Lauer, co-author of the study, adds that digital photography with UV-induced fluorescence provided additional information about the structures of the bone ridge.

Petrodactyle wellnhoferi is also unusually large for a pterosaur. Its wingspan is about 2 meters, making it one of the largest known pterosaurs from the Late Jurassic period. Bruce Lauer of the Lauer Foundation notes that the specimen was found in a quarry that produces important fossils that provide additional clues about Late Jurassic pterosaurs.

The researchers also note that Petrodactyle wellnhoferi probably spent most of its time near water. It had a long jaw and many small teeth, making it ideal for catching small fish and other aquatic prey. However, it also had a unique extension at the back of its skull, which allowed it to enlarge its jaw muscles and provide a stronger bite.

This discovery is a great example of collaboration between scientists and amateur collectors as well as commercial fossil traders. Through this collaboration, science can advance and gain new knowledge about prehistoric creatures.

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