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A giant flying reptile that lived alongside the dinosaurs has been uncovered from a rocky outcrop in Argentina during a civil construction project.
Dubbed Thanatosdrakon amaru – meaning ” dragon of death” in Greek – the species is the largest pterosaur ever found in South America.

Two massive specimens were found fossilized in the Plottier Formation, in the province of Mendoza, and had a wingspan of nine and seven metres respectively.

An artist's representation of Thanatosdrakon amaru.
An artist’s representation of Thanatosdrakon amaru. (Leonardo D. Ortiz David)

The animals are azhdarchids, paleontologists have confirmed.

Azhdarchids were a family of pterosaurs ruled the skies at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 146 million to 66 million years ago.
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But speaking to LiveScience lead author Leonardo D. Ortiz David, from the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, confirmed the animals died around 86-million-years ago and were found together.

“Azhdarchids were known for their very large skulls — sometimes larger than their bodies — as well as their hyper-elongated necks and short, robust bodies,” Ortiz David said.

“There is no indication in the fossil remains of a degree of parental relationship,” .

“However, it can be confirmed that both specimens are of different sizes, and that the smaller one is a juvenile-subadult, and that they were together when they died more than 86 million years ago.”

A close-up view of the Boulia pterosaur femur.
A close-up view of a pterosaur femur found in Boulia, Queensland. (Australian Age of Dinosaurs)

Bone scarring suggests one may have encountered a crocodile.

Pterosaurs are the earliest vertebrates known to evolve powered flight.

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