Scientists have discovered a new genus of pterosaur, and given it a name worthy of royalty, at least in the world of Game of Thrones. According to a report by National Geographic, the new flying dinosaur was named Targaryendraco Wiedenrothi, in honor of Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons. With enough new discoveries, the name could spread to a whole group of dinosaurs.
The new genus of pterosaur reportedly comes from shallow coastal environments, and is distinguished by unusually narrow snouts. Paleontologists at the Universidade Federal do in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil conducted to study to demonstrate that this group deserved its own name.
"All these species are from shallow coastal environments and probably fed on fish," said study lead Rodrigo Pêgas. "The slenderness of jaw is the main feature they share... it's the most extreme slenderness in the jaws of any toothed pterosaurs."
Folklorists have long speculated that the fossils of pterosaur and other flying dinosaurs helped contribute to the proliferation of dragons in mythology all around the world. Pêgas noted that author George R.R. Martin stood out within the modern fantasy genre, as his dragons are anatomically correct compared to others. They have four limbs instead of six, with their wings and front legs joined on the same extremities.
"I always thought it was very nice, especially because I work on pterosaurs," he told reporters. "I am a big nerd and a big fan of Game of Thrones."
This newfound scientific legitimacy comes just as the dragons of Westeros are about to get an even bigger place in the spotlight. While Game of Thrones ended in May with the controversial Season 8, a spinoff show is now in the works at HBO. House of the Dragon takes place about 180 years before the original series, and centers around Daenerys' ancestors.
House of the Dragon is expected to follow the storyline known as "The Dance of the Dragons." Within Martin's fictional world, this is a civil war that divided House Targaryen and helped contribute to the near-extinction of dragons altogether.0comments
The story was described at length in Fire & Blood, the fictional Westerosi history Martin published in the fall of 2018. The book is written from the perspective of an Archmaester — the scholars of Westeros — and takes a broad, historical view. The show will presumably be more narratively driven.