Thanks to the study of the fossil remains found in the Atacama desert (northern Chile), in 2009, a strange “flying dragon” from the Jurassic could be identified, something that had never happened in the southern hemisphere.
It is a type of pterosaur belonging to the subfamily Ramphorhynchinae, which was found in the city of Calama and which inhabited Gondwana about 160 million years ago.
The study was headed by Jhonatan Alarcón, researcher at the Paleontological Network of the University of Chile, and the remains that corresponded to “a left humerus, a possible dorsal vertebra and two fragments of a phalanx of the wing, all preserved in three dimensions and probably belonging to a single individual ”.
According to the scientist, the preserved pieces of the specimen are enough to determine that it is a large pterosaur for the time, very similar to the members of a group known in the northern hemisphere known as Rhamphorhynchinae.
“These pterosaurs had wing spans, from tip to tip, of up to 1.80 or 2 meters. Our specimen is quite large, comparable to Rhamphorhynchus, which is the largest member of this family, or perhaps the largest ”.
According to Alarcón, these unique winged dragons were characterized by “having a very elongated tail and a peculiar rhombus-shaped ending. In addition to low heads, long snouts and pointed teeth directed towards the front ”.
Finally, the professional acknowledged that more remains have been found in the area that still need to be studied to determine if this individual corresponds to a new species.