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strange species

Bones of flying reptile with butterfly-like head found in Brazil

In southern Brazil, paleontologists have discovered the fossils of an ancient flying reptile with an unusual butterfly-esque head.

The bones were actually found by a farmer and his son in the 1970s, but forgotten about until they were unearthed again two years ago, Live Science reports. In an article published Wednesday in PLOS ONE, the study's authors write that the Caiuajara dobruskii lived 80 million years ago and belonged to the pterosaur (or pterodactyl) group. It lived in a desert area with an oasis, and ate fruit. Because the adult's skeleton was not too different from a youngster's skeleton, researchers believe that juveniles were able to fly at a very early age.

Hundreds of fossils were discovered together in a single bed, leading researchers to believe that these were social reptiles. "This was a flock of pterosaurs," paleontologist Alexander Kellner, co-author of the study, told Live Science.