ALBERTA, CAN. (WHTM) – A new dinosaur, ‘Cold Dragon of the North Winds,’ once soared across Canadian skies, according to the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The enormous species of giant pterosaur — part of a group known as azhdarchids — finally has a name: Cryodrakon boreas, drawing from the ancient Greek words that translate to “cold dragon of the north winds.”
The dinosaur is believed to be one of the largest flying animals that ever lived. Research shows that the gigantic reptile had a long neck and a wingspan that stretched nearly 33-feet.
Researchers first discovered its fossils 30- years ago in Alberta, Canada but the discovery of additional fossils in recent years told scientists that the fossils represented a newfound species and the first new species of giant pterosaur found in Canada.
Paleoartist David Maas illustrated the pterosaur with a distinctive pattern of red and white that will likely be immediately recognizable to any Canadian. Viewed from above with its wings at full spread, the markings across Cryodrakon‘s back and wingtips strongly resemble the Canadian flag, down to the iconic maple leaf in the center.
This was a “fun” artistic choice, as there’s no fossilized evidence of the animal’s colors or patterns, said lead study author David Hone, a senior lecturer, and director of the biology program at Queen Mary University in London, in an email to Live Science. Nevertheless, “it’s actually a plausible colour scheme,” he added.
“It’s nothing ridiculous or impossible based on what we know about the colours of large living birds,” Hone said.