Brazilian researchers have unearthed a unique dinosaur species possessing a bizarre, butterfly-like head and the study claims they had lived about 80 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.
The ancient species of flying pterosaur, Caiuajara dobruskii, has been excavated from a Brazil’s mass graveyard of 50 winged reptiles. The new species sport wingspans from two to eight feet (65 to 235cm).
The study was conducted by researchers at Brazil’s Universidade do Contestado and led by Paulo Manzig.
According to the research team, they found the bones of about 50 of these reptiles lying in the form of a single bone bed.
Dr. Alexander Kellner, study co-author from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said, “Based on the available information, we conclude that Caiuajara dobruskii lived in colonies around an inland lake situated in a desert.”
Researchers say the mass grave of bones was crammed into an area of just 215 square feet (20 square meters) and this arrangement provides enough evidence that the flying species were social animals.
He further said, “The presence of three main levels of accumulation in a section of less than one meter suggests that this region was home to pterosaur populations for an extended period of time.”
Researchers further said that pterosaur fossils have previously been traced in northern Brazil but this is for the first time that there is strong evidence that they lived in the southern part of the country.
Findings of the study were published in the journal PLOS ONE.