Flock of Flying Lizard Skeletons Found in Brazil

August 18, 2014



Flying lizards are sol cool that there was a punk rock band in the 1970s that was named the Flying Lizards. However, there aren’t any lizards that can fly today, though they can glide. This was different during the age of the dinosaur when there were many reptiles that could fly.


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Scientists with the Universidade do Contestado, Mafra, Santa Catarina, Brazil, have discovered a rare bone bed of Caiuajara dobruskii, a flying lizard that featured a ventral sagittal bony expansion, or a huge crest on its head. According to their paper in the PLOS One journal, the scientists didn’t find a single specimen, but skeletons of complete juveniles and adults in an area of southern Brazil that was once a desert. The scientists found hundreds of bones in a 65 square-foot area from at least 47 individual flying lizards, from juveniles to adults.

Flying lizards

Image by Maurilio Oliveira/Museu Nacional-UFRJ

Scientists with the Universidade do Contestado, Mafra, Santa Catarina, Brazil, have discovered a rare bone bed of Caiuajara dobruskii, a flying lizard that featured a ventral sagittal bony expansion, or a huge crest on its head.

What is unique about the find is that the lizards, both young and old share the same crest on its head, suggesting that the crest grew as the lizard grew. The wingspan of the lizard ranged from 2 to 8 feet and further evidence suggests the lizard flew at a young age and stayed in packs or groups from youth to adult. The finding of the reptile bones in groups is the first of its kind, showing that the animals probably flew together and stayed together from birth to adulthood.

Scientists speculate that the area in which the bones were found was occupied by the group of lizards for some time. It could have been a migratory stop or it could have been there home. They are also unsure how the lizards died.

The complete paper can be found on the PLOS One Journal website.  

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