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Scientist Compares Newly Discovered Dinosaur To Star Wars Porg

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Scientist Compares Newly Discovered Dinosaur To Star Wars Porg

When discussing prehistoric flying reptiles, you might think of terrifying winged creatures that wouldn't look out of place in Jurassic Park.

However, a new species discovered by a team of palaeontologists are simply adorable, if the artist reconstructions are anything to go by - with some likening the little critters to Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Porgs.

The New York Posts reports how an international team of scientists uncovered the fossilised skeleton of the creature preserved in China's Hubei Province.

Credit: Wei et al. via PeerJ
Credit: Wei et al. via PeerJ
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The researchers discovered that it was a new species of pterosaur, a type of flying reptile that existed during most of the Mesozoic Era, about 252 to 66 million years ago.

While many people consider pterosaurs to be flying dinosaurs, they were instead the cool cousins of the reptile family tree and went extinct at the same time.

A far cry from the long-beaked pterosaurs we're used to seeing, the newly discovered species - named Sinomacrops bondei - looks a lot more cuddly.

We know this thanks to the reconstruction images of the critter which, despite the skeleton being crushed, were made possible thanks to x-ray imaging to illustrate what it would have looked like all those years ago.

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Credit: Zhao Chuang via PeerJ
Credit: Zhao Chuang via PeerJ

Sinomacrops are said to be close relatives of anurognathids - a family of small pterosaurs that typically had short or no tails and lived in Europe, Asia and possibly North America.

As you can see by the images, they were fuzzy little critters with flat faces, bug eyes and broad wings - looking kind of like a cross between a bat and a slow loris.

Their unusually cute appearance have led to a whole host of comparisons, from Porgs to Gremlins to our personal favourite from Gizmodo: "Many later pterosaurs were terrifying, otherworldly, dinosaur-gobbling storks the size of giraffes, but anurognathids like Sinomacrops had the bearing and physique of a chicken nugget."

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Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

Megan Jabobs - a palaeontologist from Baylor University in Texas who wasn't involved with the research - told the publication that the discovery is exciting.

The scientist explained that pterosaur fossils are extremely rare to come across as their thin, hollow bones don't keep well compared with other creatures from that era.

Speaking about the Porg-like creatures, she said: "It's very round with large, forward facing eyes. Most pterosaurs of this period have elongated snouts full of little teeth.

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"Finding these early pterosaurs really gives us an insight into how they started to adapt and alter aspects of their skeletons."

Topics: Star Wars, Science, Dinosaurs, China

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