Ancient cemetery of flying reptiles found

Universidad de Chile / Handout via Reuters
A paleontologist is seen working where pterosaur fossils were found in the Atacama desert in Chile in this undated photo.

SANTIAGO (Reuters) — Scientists in Chile said they have unearthed a rare cemetery with well-preserved bones of ancient flying reptiles that roamed the Andean country’s Atacama desert more than 100 million years ago.

The remains belong to pterosaurs, scientists determined, flying creatures that lived alongside dinosaurs that had a long wingspan and fed by filtering water through long thin teeth, similar to flamingos.

The group of scientists, led by Jhonatan Alarcon, an investigator at the University of Chile, has been searching for pterosaurs for years, but this discovery surpassed their hopes.

“This has global relevance because these types of findings are relatively rare,” Alarcon said. “Almost everywhere in the world, the pterosaur remains that are found are isolated.”