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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.

IMAGE:  Lord of the skies

Photo by Jason Smith

IMAGE:  Lord of the skies

Illustration by Todd Marshall



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