Ancient flying reptile named after 'Avatar' creature

Scientists recently discovered fossils of a new flying reptile, which lived 120 millions years ago and named it 'ikrandraco avatar' due to it's closely resemblance with the creatures ridden in James Cameron's 2009 film 'Avatar.'

ANI| Last Updated: Sep 16, 2014, 15:12 PM IST

London: Scientists recently discovered fossils of a new flying reptile, which lived 120 millions years ago and named it 'ikrandraco avatar' due to it's closely resemblance with the creatures ridden in James Cameron's 2009 film 'Avatar.'

The reptile called a pterosaur lived in the Cretaceous Period and its new name means "Ikran dragon" from "Avatar," the Independent reported.

The animals had a wingspan of about 8 feet (2.5 meters) and lived in a warm region teeming with life, with feathered dinosaurs, birds, mammals, frogs, turtles and other animals along with a variety of trees and other plants.

Unlike many other pterosaurs, the ikrandraco avatar did not have a crest on the top of its elongated head. It did, however, have an unusual blade-like crest on its lower jaw, oddly similar to the animals in the movie 'Avatar.'

Pterosaurs were Earth's first flying vertebrates, with birds and bats making their appearances later. They thrived from about 220 million years ago to 65 million years ago, when they were wiped out by the asteroid that also doomed the dinosaurs.

Xiaolin Wang of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said that the head structure was similar in this pterosaur to the Ikran in Avatar.

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.