Tags: ikrandraco | avatar | glided | pelican | prehistoric | china

Ikrandraco Avatar Glided Like Pelican Above Prehistoric China

By    |   Monday, 15 Sep 2014 11:31 AM

The Ikrandraco avatar, partly named after the flying beast in the top-grossing 2009 movie "Avatar," may have glided pelican-like above lakes in China some 120 million years ago, storing fish for food using a throat pouch.

Paleontologists reported in the journal Scientific Reports that newly discovered fossils of the pterosaurs show a crest under its chin that may have supported the pouch, according to National Geographic.

Xiaolin Wang, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said the Ikrandraco and pelicans may have separately evolved pouches and skimming flight but both are descendants from dinosaurs.

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The bird-like creature was about 2.3 feet long with a wingspan of nearly five feet, reported LiveScience.com. It had a long skull and crest with a blade-shaped bulge of bone on the edge of its lower jaw, according to the website.

Wang, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the back of Ikrandraco's jaw crest had a little hooklike structure so it could store its food.

National Geographic noted that the fossil had at least 40 pairs of small teeth, about an inch long, and a lower jaw that bore a crest about five inches long, larger than that of any other flying reptile.

The study's senior author Alexander Kellner, of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, told National Geographic that the fossils of two nearly complete creatures were found in bone beds more than 12 miles apart in northern China.

"These are spectacular new fossil specimens," paleontologist Richard Butler, of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Butler said that while the throat pouches remain "speculative," he believed skimming the water to feed was probably not possible for the birds.

The Ikrans in the movie "Avatar," according to Tech Times, were based on the largest known pterosaur, Hatzegopteryx, and had a wingspan of some 40 feet. The remains of that ancient species were found by paleontologists from France and Romania in 2002.

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The Ikrandraco avatar, partly named after the flying beast in the top-grossing 2009 movie "Avatar," may have glided pelican-like above lakes in China some 120 million years ago, storing fish for food using a throat pouch.
ikrandraco, avatar, glided, pelican, prehistoric, china
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2014-31-15
Monday, 15 Sep 2014 11:31 AM
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