Unusual pterosaur species ate like a flamingo
The earliest known filter-feeding pterosaur has been unearthed in northeast China's Liaoning province.
Dating back 160 million years, this prehistoric flying reptile defied convention by filter-feeding from bodies of water as oppose to swooping down and grabbing fish and insects like other pterosaurs.
Named Liaodactylus primus, the species had a 3.2ft wingspan and a 5-inch-long skull. It was able to strain small food particles from the water using a large number of very fine teeth.
"The new pterosaur marks a major ecological transition in pterosaur evolution from fish-catching or insect-eating to filter-feeding adaptation," Professor Ke-Qin Gao told Live Science.
"This critical transition was followed by a burst of ecological diversification of pterosaurs, which had a significant impact on the change of the terrestrial ecosystems of the Cretaceous world.