From China, the tiniest pterodactyl

12:34pm, February 18, 2008

Researchers excavating the fossil-rich rocks of northeastern China have discovered another paleontological marvel: a flying reptile the size of a sparrow.

The tiny, toothless creature, dubbed Nemicolopterus crypticus—meaning "hidden flying forest dweller"—lived about 120 million years ago, says Alexander W.A. Kellner, a vertebrate paleontologist at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Other fossils found in the same rocks suggest that the fine-grained sediments were deposited on the bottom of a lake in a heavily forested region, Kellner and his colleagues report in the Feb. 12 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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