Serradraco, meaning “saw dragon” in Latin in reference to the saw-like appearance of its jaws, was a pterosaur which lived in England during the early Cretaceous Period approximately 135-132 million years ago.
Fossil remains were discovered during the 1800s in the town of St. Leonards-on-Sea within Sussex, England. Geologically, the fossils were found within the Tunbridge Wells Sand Formation, which dates to the late Valanginian Stage of the early Cretaceous Period. It was originally named in 1874 as a species of the Jurassic pterosaur genus Pterodactylus. However, it was renamed as Serradraco in 2018.
Serradraco was a member of the pterosaur family Lonchodectidae, which includes Lonchodectes, Lonchodraco, and Ikrandraco. Many of these members are distinctive for having keel-like crests on the front of their heads, especially hanging down from the front of their lower jaw. Since Serradraco is believed to have been closely related to Lonchodraco, it likely had a keel-like crest on the front of its lower jaw, and possibly on the front of the upper jaw as well.
Estimating size is difficult due to the fragmentary nature of the remains. James S. Bowerbank estimated Lonchodraco to have a wingspan of 8-9 feet. However, the fragment of jaw which was assigned to the related genus Serradraco is substantially larger, and the teeth themselves are approximately 50% larger than the teeth of Lonchodraco. Therefore we may assume that Serradraco’s body as a whole was 50% larger, and thus it hypothetically had a wingspan of 12 feet.
Serradraco shared its prehistoric British habitat with another pterosaur named Coloborhynchus. Meanwhile on land roamed many species of dinosaurs including the brachiosaurid sauropod Pelorosaurus, the large iguanodontid Barilium, the smaller ridge-backed iguanodontid Hypselospinus, the 12 foot dryosaurid Valdosaurus, the 15 foot armored dinosaur Hylaeosaurus, the 12-15 foot stegosaur Regnosaurus, the 20-25 foot ridge-backed theropod Altispinax, and the somewhat dubious spinosaurid theropod Suchosaurus. Swimming in the water offshore was the 15 foot pliosaur Hastanectes, and several species of fish including at least three different species of hybodont sharks.
Below is a hypothetical reconstruction of what Serradraco might have looked like. The image is based upon the related genera Pterodactylus, Lonchodraco, and Ikrandraco. This drawing was made with No.2 pencil and colored pencils on printer paper. The coloration is based upon the modern-day Black-and-White Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus melanoleucus), which lives throughout much of Latin America from southern Mexico southwards to northern Argentina.
Serradraco sagittirostris. © Jason R. Abdale (February 12, 2023).
Keep your pencils sharp.
Categories: Paleontology, Uncategorized
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