Lord of the skies
The 110-million-year-old bones cradled by Chicago
paleontologist Paul Sereno belong to a newly discovered species
of pterosaur—dinosaurs’ airborne cousin—which
Sereno and his team found in Niger in 1997. The fossil includes
most of an 8-foot wing and several slender teeth from the creature’s
jumbo jaws. The Cretaceous Period pterosaur, as yet unnamed, soared
through the skies, dropping down to snare fish along the way. The
fossil kept impressive company: the team scored remnants of “SuperCroc,”
a 40-foot-long crocodile with a 6-foot mouth, in the same area.
Sereno unveiled his latest prehistoric
prize, which took about six years to prepare, in December at the
city’s Garfield Park Conservatory, where a full-size pterosaur
model is part of an exhibit open through September.—M.L.