According to Alexander Kellner, paleontologist and director of the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the “Meilifeilong youhao” (Beautiful flying and friendly dragon, in literal translation), the name of a species of pterosaur, represents not only a new achievement in paleontological research, but also the deep cooperation between Brazil and China.

In December 2023, a Chinese-Brazilian research team, coordinated by Kellner and Wang Xiaolin, a Chinese researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, classified this species of pterosaur in the Chaoyangopterity group based on fossil studies. found in Liaoxi, Liaoning Province, northeast China. The two sides called it “Meilifeilong youhao” with the aim of celebrating bilateral cooperation in the field of paleontological research, which has lasted more than 20 years.

The “’Meilifeilong youhao’ lived 120 million years ago, in the Cretaceous period. Fossils of members of the Chaoyangopterity group are found mainly in the Jehol Biota, west of Liaoning, in northeastern China, and are characterized by medium size, no teeth and a high crown. Besides China, there are only a few confirmed fossil records of Chaoyangopterity in Brazil,” reported Wang Xiaolin, adding that the discovery and study of the Chaoyangopterity family, including the “Meilifeilong youhao”, reinforces the idea that Liaoxi was the center of origin of various Cretaceous pterosaur taxa.

For basic fossil research, the most important thing is morphological observation and taxonomic comparison. When the restoration of this specimen was completed and it was presented to Brazilian experts for the first time, Brazilian researchers were shocked by its almost complete skeleton. Researchers from both countries therefore named the new species “Meilifeilong youhao”, in which “youhao” symbolizes the 20 years of friendly cooperation between scientists from the two countries.


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