Meet Thapunngaka shawi, a flying reptile that ruled Queensland’s skies
Fossils collected from the Toolebuc Formation in North West Queensland, Australia have revealed a new species of pterosaur or flying reptile that lived about 100 million years ago. The study team estimated that it had a wingspan of about 23 feet, one metre long skull and around 40 teeth.
First author Tim Richards explained in a release that “it is the closest thing we have to a real-life dragon… The new pterosaur would have been a fearsome beast, with a spear-like mouth. This thing would have been quite savage. It would have cast a great shadow over some quivering little dinosaurs who wouldn’t have heard them coming until it was too late.”
It was named Thapunngaka shawi, in honour of Len Shaw, a local fossicker who discovered it. The genus names thapun and ngaka, mean spear and mouth, respectively, in Wanamara language.