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"Paleontologists find pterosaur precursors that fill a gap" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2020 2:32 p.m. PST

…in early evolutionary history.

"Pterosaurs were the earliest reptiles to evolve powered flight, dominating the skies for 150 million years before their imminent extinction some 66 million years ago.

However, key details of their evolutionary origin and how they gained their ability to fly have remained a mystery; one that paleontologists have been trying to crack for the past 200 years. In order to learn more about their evolution and fill in a few gaps in the fossil record, it is imperative that their closest relatives are identified.

With the help of newly discovered skulls and skeletons that were unearthed in North America, Brazil, Argentina, and Madagascar in recent years, Virginia Tech researchers Sterling Nesbitt and Michelle Stocker from the Department of Geosciences in the College of Science have demonstrated that a group of "dinosaur precursors," called lagerpetids, are the closest relatives of pterosaurs…"

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