Natural History Society of Maryland
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Natural History Society of Maryland

Meet The Largest Australian Pterosaur - Thapunngaka shawi

  • 24 Mar 2022
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom


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NHSM is honored to have University of Queensland PhD candidate Tim Richards, from the Dinosaur Lab in UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, who led a research team that analyzed a fossil of the creature’s jaw, join us via Zoom to discuss this amazing discovery.

Pterosaurs were a successful and diverse group of reptiles – the very first back-boned animals to take a stab at powered flight. In 2011 a fossil was found in an Australian quarry. It has recently been determined to be a new species that belonged to a group of pterosaurs known as anhanguerians, which inhabited every continent during the latter part of the Age of Dinosaurs. With a spear-like mouth and a wingspan around seven meters, it would have been the stuff of nightmares for unsuspecting dinosaurs below.

The name of the new species honors the First Nations peoples where incorporating words from the now-extinct language of the Wanamara Nation – thapun [ta-boon] and ngaka [nga-ga], the Wanamara words for ‘spear’ and ‘mouth’, respectively.

The Natural History Society of Maryland is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and contributions are tax-deductible.

The mission of the Natural History Society of Maryland is to foster stewardship of Maryland’s natural heritage by conserving its natural history collections, educating its citizenry, and inspiring its youth to pursue careers in the natural sciences.

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