Flock of Ancient ‘Butterfly-Headed’ Flying Reptiles Discovered

by Tia Ghose

An ancient flying reptile with a bizarre, butterflylike head has been unearthed in Brazil.

The new-found pterosaur species, Caiuajara dobruskii, lived about 80 million years ago in an ancient desert oasis. The beast sported a strange bony crest on its head that looked like the wings of a butterfly, and had the wingspan needed to take flight at a very young age.

Hundreds of fossils from the reptile were unearthed in a single bone bed, providing the strongest evidence yet that the flying reptiles were social animals, said study co-author Alexander Kellner, a paleontologist at the Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil…

(read more: Live Science)

illustration by Maurilio Oliveira/Museu Nacional-UFR; photos: Manzig et al, PLOS ONE 2014

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