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BYU scientist discovers new species of pterodactyl

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Posted at 2:25 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 18:22:09-04

PROVO, Utah — Scientists working with Brigham Young University (BYU) discovered a new and rare pterodactyl while working in northeastern Utah.

Brooks Britt, who is a geological sciences professor, discovered the bones of a new pterosaur, a flying reptile more commonly referred to as a pterodactyl.

Britt named the species Caelestiventus (heavenly wind) hanseni. 

Britt discovered the bones as he was searching through new sandstone samples. Dating back to 200 million years ago, Caelestiventus hanseni is one of the earliest specimens ever found, BYU said.

BYU said that until Britt’s discovery, there were only 30 known pterodactyl specimens that had been discovered.

Britt and a team were working at the Saints and Sinners Quarry (which is on BLM-managed land) in northeastern Utah when the sandstone samples were taken.

“With so many bones at the site (more than 18,000 so far), Britt explained, the team extracts large blocks of sandstone blindly, not knowing what bones are in the blocks until they are carefully whittled down in the lab,” BYU wrote in a news release on the discovery.

To read an article detailing the discovery of the new species, click here.