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Pterosaurs: Fur flies over feathery fossils

Pterosaurs: Fur flies over feathery fossils

Science
Two exceptionally well preserved fossils give a new picture of the pterosaurs, the flying reptiles that lived at the time of the dinosaurs.Scientists believe the creatures may have had feathers, and looked something like brown bats with fuzzy wings.The surprise discovery suggests feathers evolved not in birds, nor dinosaurs, but in more distant times.Pterosaurs were the closest relatives of dinosaurs, sharing a common ancestor about 250 million years ago. "We would suggest - tentatively - that it would be worth considering that feathers originated much earlier than we thought," Prof Mike Benton, from the University of Bristol, told BBC News.Hailing from China, the 160-million-year-old fossils are of two different pterosaurs, one ...
Fossilised eggs shed light on reign of pterosaurs

Fossilised eggs shed light on reign of pterosaurs

Science
The largest clutch of pterosaurs eggs ever discovered suggests that the extinct flying reptiles may have gathered together in vast colonies to lay their eggs.More than 200 eggs were discovered at one location in China.Little is known about how the pterosaurs reproduced.The find suggests that hatchlings were probably incapable of flight when they emerged from the egg, and needed some parental care.Predator attackFossilised pterosaur eggs and embryos are extremely rare. Until now only a handful of eggs have been found, in Argentina and north-western China.The large collection of eggs suggests pterosaurs may have nested in colonies, where they defended their offspring from predator attack.Pterosaur experts Xiaolin Wang of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Paleoanthropology in Beij...