“The remains of Thanatosdrakon present different particularities that allow us to differentiate them from other known pterosaurs,” project leader Leonardo Ortiz told USA TODAY. “Fundamentally, these characteristics are found in the vertebrae and limbs. This allowed us to establish a new species of pterosaur.”
A team of paleontologists found the fossils in the Andes mountains of Argentina’s western Mendoza province, noting that the rocks preserved the reptile’s remains dating back 86 million years to the Cretaceous period, according to the study. That’s 20 million years before an asteroid impact wiped out three quarters of life on Earth.
The team also classified the pterosaur fossil as the biggest discovered in South America and one of the largest in the world.