Giant ‘dragons of death’ found in Argentina

(ORDO NEWS) — Dubbed “dragons of death” by palaeontologists, two giant flying reptiles have been discovered in the Plottier Formation, located in the province of Mendoza.

The wingspan of two individuals was approximately 7 and 9 m wide, respectively. The researchers confirmed that these are the so-called azhdarchids, a family of pterosaurs that lived at the end of the Cretaceous period, that is, approximately 66-146 million years ago.

“Azhdarchids were known for their very large skulls sometimes even larger than their bodies as well as their overly elongated necks and short, burly bodies,” says Leonardo D. Ortiz David, lead author of the new study describing huge pterosaurs and general coordinator of Argentinean laboratory and the Dinosaur Museum in Mendoza.

Scientists have identified pterosaurs as Thanatosdrakon amaru. This is the only species in the genus, which means “dragon of death” in Greek.

The authors of the study reported that the name of the species “Amaru” is translated as “flying kite” from the language of the indigenous peoples of Quechua and corresponds to Amaru, the Inca deity with two heads.

“The fossils of Thanatosdragon were in varying degrees of preservation; some of them were intact, such as both humerus, syncarpals [fused bones of the foot] and dorsal vertebrae, ”the expert says. But most, including the forearm bones shown in the photo below, were found to be shattered:

Giant dragons of death found in Argentina 2

The fossils are currently stored in the Dinosaur Laboratory and Museum at Cuyo National University. To help preserve the specimens, experts made 1:1 scale casts.

The findings of the researchers about the found remains are promised to be published in the September issue of the journal Cretaceous Research for 2022.


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