Tue. Sep 28th, 2021

” The brand-new pterosaur, which we named Thapunngaka shawi, would have been a terrifying monster, with a spear-like mouth and a wingspan around seven meters.
” It was basically simply a skull with a long neck, bolted on a pair of long wings.
” This thing would have been quite savage.
” It would have cast a great shadow over some trembling little dinosaur that would not have heard it until it was too late.”
Tim Richards with the skull of an anhanguerian pterosaur. Credit: Tim Richards
Mr. Richards stated the skull alone would have been simply over one meter long, including around 40 teeth, completely suited to grasping the numerous fishes known to live in Queenslands no-longer-existent Eromanga Sea.
” Its appealing to believe it may have swooped like a magpie throughout breeding season, making your regional magpie swoop appearance pretty minor– no amount of zip ties would have saved you.
” Though, to be clear, it was absolutely nothing like a bird, and even a bat– Pterosaurs were a successful and varied group of reptiles– the very first back-boned animals to take a stab at powered flight.”
Theoretical outlines of Australian pterosaurs revealing relative wingspan sizes. 1.8 m human for scale. Credit: Tim Richards
The brand-new types came from a group of pterosaurs understood as anhanguerians, which lived in every continent during the latter part of the Age of Dinosaurs.
Being completely adjusted to powered flight, pterosaurs had reasonably hollow and thin-walled bones. Offered these adaptations their fossilized remains are uncommon and typically improperly maintained.
” Its rather incredible fossils of these animals exist at all,” Mr Richards said. “By world standards, the Australian pterosaur record is poor, however the discovery of Thapunngaka contributes significantly to our understanding of Australian pterosaur variety.”
It is just the 3rd types of anhanguerian pterosaur understood from Australia, with all three species hailing from western Queensland.
Reconstruction of the skull of Thapunngaka shawi (KKF494). From Richards et al. (2021 ). Credit: Tim Richards
Dr. Steve Salisbury, co-author on the paper and Mr Richards PhD manager, stated what was especially striking about this new species of anhanguerian was the enormous size of the bony crest on its lower jaw, which it presumably had on the upper jaw also.
” These crests most likely played a function in the flight dynamics of these creatures, and ideally future research study will provide more conclusive responses,” Dr. Salisbury stated.
The fossil was found in a quarry simply northwest of Richmond in June 2011 by Len Shaw, a local fossicker who has been scratching around in the location for years.
The name of the new species honors the First Nations individuals of the Richmond location where the fossil was found, incorporating words from the now-extinct language of the Wanamara Nation.
Theoretical outline of Thapunngaka shawi with a 7 m wingspan, together with a wedge-tailed eagle (2.5 m wingspan) and a hang-glider (10 m wingspan). Credit: Tim Richards
” The genus name, Thapunngaka, incorporates thapun [ta-boon] and ngaka [nga-ga], the Wanamara words for spear and mouth, respectively,” Dr. Salisbury stated.
” The types name, shawi, honours the fossils innovator Len Shaw, so the name indicates Shaws spear mouth.”.
The fossil of Thapunngaka shawi is on display at Kronosaurus Korner in Richmond.
Reference: “An Upper Triassic Terrestrial Vertebrate Assemblage from the Forgotten Kocury Locality (Poland) with a New Aetosaur Taxon” by Łukasz Czepiński, Dawid Dróżdż, Tomasz Szczygielski, Mateusz Tałanda, Wojciech Pawlak, Antoni Lewczuk, Adam Rytel and Tomasz Sulej, 6 April 2021, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.DOI: 10.1080/ 02724634.2021.1898977.

Artists impression of the terrifying Thapunngaka shawi. Credit: Adobe stock
Australias biggest flying reptile has been uncovered, a pterosaur with an approximated seven-meter wingspan that soared like a dragon above the ancient, vast inland sea once covering much of outback Queensland.
University of Queensland PhD prospect Tim Richards, from the Dinosaur Lab in UQs School of Biological Sciences, led a research group that analyzed a fossil of the creatures jaw, found on Wanamara Country, near Richmond in North West Queensland.
” Its the closest thing we need to a reality dragon,” Mr. Richards stated.

Hypothetical describes of Australian pterosaurs showing relative wingspan sizes. Credit: Tim Richards
Reconstruction of the skull of Thapunngaka shawi (KKF494). From Richards et al. (2021 ). Credit: Tim Richards

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