LONDON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- British paleontologists say they've identified a fossil fragment as part of a giant pterosaur, setting a new upper limit for the size of such creatures.
Researchers from the Universities of Leicester examined the fossil, the tip of a pterosaur snout that had been in the Natural History Museum collections since 1884, and identified it as having been part of the world's largest toothed pterosaur.
Pterosaurs are flying reptiles that lived in the Mesozoic Era alongside dinosaurs between 210 million and 65 million years ago.
"Our study showed that the fossil represented a huge individual with a wingspan that might have reached 7 meters (23 feet,)" David Unwin of Leicester said in a university release Thursday. "This is far larger than, for example, any modern bird, although some extinct birds may have reached 6 meters (20 feet) in wingspan.
"What this research shows is that some toothed pterosaurs reached truly spectacular sizes and, for now, it allows us to put a likely upper limit on that size – around 7 meters in wingspan," Unwin said.