New pterosaur with more than 400 teeth unearthed in Germany

A new species of dinosaur with more than 400 teeth which ate in a similar way to ducks and flamingos has been discovered in Germany. The fossil of the nearly complete

Balaenognathus maeuseri, part of the pterosaur family, was discovered accidentally in a Bavarian quarry while scientists were excavating a large block of limestone containing

crocodile bones. Since the first pterosaur was discovered in Bavarian limestone in the 18th century, hundreds of remains of the flying reptiles have been unearthed, making

the quarries of the Franconian Jura one of the richest pterosaur localities in the world. The research was led by Professor David Martill of the University of Portsmouth,

Hampshire, and involved palaeontologists from England, Germany and Mexico. Prof Martill said: “The nearly complete skeleton was found in a very finely layered limestone that

preserves fossils beautifully. “The jaws of this pterosaur are really long and lined with small, fine, hooked teeth, with tiny spaces between them like a nit

comb. “The long jaw is curved upwards like an avocet and at the end it flares out like a spoonbill. There are no teeth at the end of its mouth, but there are teeth all the

way along both jaws right to the back of its smile. “What’s even more remarkable is some of the teeth have a hook on the end, which we’ve never seen before in a pterosaur

ever. “These small hooks would have been used to catch the tiny shrimp the pterosaur likely fed on – making sure they went down its throat and weren’t squeezed between the

teeth.”