Washington, Jan 11 (ANI): After months of pondering the origin of a fossilized jawbone, a University of Alberta researcher has identified it as a new species of pterosaur-a flying reptile that lived 70 million years ago.
Victoria Arbour said the first clue to the fossil's identity came after it was compared to a known species of pterosaurs.
"The teeth of our fossil were small and set close together. They reminded me of piranha teeth, designed for pecking away at meat," said Arbour.
This led the scientist to believe that the new species, named Gwawinapterus beardi was a scavenger of the late Cretaceous.
"It had a wing span of about 3 metres and patrolled the sky and set down to feed on the leftover kills made by predator dinosaurs of the time such as Albertosaurus," she said.
The fossil is not only a new species; it's the first pterosaur of any kind to be found in British Columbia.
It was found on Hornby Island, off the coast of Vancouver Island
However, Arbour said the place where the fossil was located has little to do with the actual area where the living pterosaur, was actually flying around 70 million years ago.
"In the late Cretaceous period, the B.C. coastal islands were about 2,500 kilometres to the south and part of what is now mainland, California," said Arbour.
The findings were published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. (ANI)