Dating Back 168 Million Years A Winged Dinosaur Discovered on a Scottish Island



A Unique Dinosaur

Scientists found a really cool dinosaur with wings. It's true! This special dinosaur lived about 168 million years ago during the Middle Jurassic period on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

Meet Sioptera ivansae

This winged dinosaur is called Sioptera ivansae. It belongs to a group of flying reptiles called pterosaurs, which were also found in China. The name Sioptera comes from the Scottish Gaelic word Cheo, meaning fog, and the Latin word ptera, meaning wing. The second part of its name, ivansae, is named after a British paleontologist named Professor Susan E. Evans.

The Exciting Discovery

In 2006, paleontologists found the fossil remains of Sioptera ivansae during a field trip to a village called Elgol on the Isle of Skye. They spent years preparing the sample and scanning the bones, some of which were still stuck in rocks.

What We Learned

Even though the skeleton is not complete, the researchers say it gives us important information about the history and diversity of pterosaurs. The findings, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, suggest that pterosaurs like Sioptera lived for more than 25 million years and were more diverse than we thought.

A Surprise in the UK

Professor Paul Barrett from the Natural History Museum said that finding Sioptera in the Middle Jurassic period in the UK was a big surprise. Most of its relatives were found in China. This means that this group of flying reptiles appeared earlier than we thought and spread all over the world.

A Special Site

The fossil was found in a place called Elgol, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The researchers could only collect samples from rocks that had fallen onto the beach. While they were examining these fossils, they noticed a few more bones that turned out to be the new pterosaur.

Why It Matters

Dr. Liz Martin-Silverstone, a paleontologist from the University of Bristol, said that the time period to which Sioptera belongs is really important for understanding pterosaurs. Finding more bones buried in the rocks helps us learn more about how these amazing creatures evolved.

About Pterosaurs

Pterosaurs are flying reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs from about 225 to 65.5 million years ago. There are over 100 known species of pterosaurs, and they were predators. They are the oldest vertebrates capable of flight. Their wings were made of a thin but strong skin membrane, and they had long jaws and tails.

Source: British press