Pterosaur, more popularly known as a pterodactyl, was a spectacular flying dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period around 170 million years ago. Researchers found an incredible fossil of the giant winged creature on the Isle of Skye. This particular pterodactyl had an estimated wingspan of more than 2.5 metres, making it the largest of its kind ever discovered from the Jurassic period.
Experts say that the fossil is the best-preserved skeleton of a pterosaur found in Scotland.
The unique specimen, discovered during a National Geographic Society-funded excavation in 2017, will now be added to National Museums Scotland’s collection and studied further.
The find is described in a new paper published in Current Biology authored by scientists from the University of Edinburgh, National Museums Scotland, the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, the University of St Andrews and Staffin Museum on the Isle of Skye.
Speaking about the ground-breaking discovery, University of Edinburgh PhD student Natalia Jagielska, who was the lead author in a new paper featuring the fossil, described the finding as one of the “best pterosaurs that has been discovered in centuries”.
Ms Jagielska said: “The finding has pieced together a huge gap in fossil records for us.
“I am glad that the world is going to see one of the best pterosaurs that has been discovered in centuries.
“Britain hasn’t seen this kind of preservation of pterosaurs in 200 years.
“It’s a discovery of the century, this doesn’t really happen.”
Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to evolve powered flight, some 50 million years before birds.
READ MORE: Archaeology breakthrough: Biggest-ever dinosaur fossil found in UK