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News about two pterodactyls fossils found in Japan, at least one of which seems to be a new species.

Below article from Japan Economic Newswire reprinted for fair use purposes only -- copyright acknowledged.

This Megalania page has been visited times since April 10, 1998.

Japan Economic Newswire
Copyright 1998 Kyodo News Service


Fossils of 2 kinds of pterodactyls found

DATELINE: GIFU, Japan, April 8 Kyodo: Fossils of two different kinds of pterodactyls, or flying reptiles, have been found in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, and one of them is likely to be a new kind of pterodactyl, local officials said Wednesday.

The board of education in Shokawa, a village in Gifu Prefecture, said a British expert on dinosaurs informed the board earlier this month that he has confirmed the two fossils were of two different kinds of pterodactyls.

The fossils, which date from the Cretaceous period and were taken from a layer of soil believed to be 130 million years old, show teeth about a centimeter long. The fossils were discovered by Shizuo Shimojima, 44, an employee of the board, and his son Tomohito, 14, in Shokawa between September 1996 and May 1997, the officials said.

A joint group of researchers from Britain and Japan have visited the village, in an area known as being rich in dinosaur fossils.

One of the researchers, David Umwin, from the University of Bristol, confirmed the two fossils as those of two types of pterodactyls, the officials said.

Japanese experts said it is unusual for two different kinds of pterodactyl fossils to be found in the same soil.

Makoto Manabe, a researcher at a national science museum, said it is the first time in Asia that fossils of more than one pterodactyl have been unearthed from the same plot of soil.

'The finding shows the local area, dating back to the Mesozoic (era), offered a rich environment in which more than one kind of pterodactyl could survive,' he said.

A pterodactyl is a kind of vertebrate animal with wings and a beak similar to those of birds.

These flying reptiles evolved from dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago, and are believed to have become extinct at the almost same time as dinosaurs.

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