Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Got Milk? How?
Poison Dart Frogs
Living in the Desert
Monkey Math
A Sense of Danger
The Colorful World of Synesthesia
Homework blues
A Global Warming Flap
Chemistry and Materials
Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
A New Basketball Gets Slick
Watching out for vultures
The science of disappearing
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
New twists for phantom limbs
Dinosaurs and Fossils
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Fossil Forests
South America's sticky tar pits
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The Pacific Ocean's Bald Spot
Weird, new ant
Life under Ice
To Catch a Dragonfly
What is groundwater
Catching Some Rays
Finding the Past
If Only Bones Could Speak
Meet your mysterious relative
Of Lice and Old Clothes
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Food and Nutrition
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
Making good, brown fat
GSAT English Rules
Adjectives and Adverbs
Problems with Prepositions
Who vs. That vs. Which
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Human Body
What the appendix is good for
Workouts: Does Stretching Help?
From Stem Cell to Any Cell
Black Widow spiders
Basset Hounds
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Children and Media
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Nature's Alphabet
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Stalking Plants by Scent
Black Mamba
Space and Astronomy
A Puffy Planetary Puzzle
A Moon's Icy Spray
Icy Red Planet
Technology and Engineering
Shape Shifting
Reach for the Sky
Searching for Alien Life
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
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Where rivers run uphill
Robots on a Rocky Road
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The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
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Watering the Air
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Tiny Pterodactyl

Imagine a creature that's a cross between a dinosaur and a bird and you'll have a good idea of what a pterodactyl looked like. These ancient creatures were reptiles, but they flew. In fact, they were probably the first vertebrates to fly. Pterodactyls could be huge. Some had wingspans that measured up to 10 meters (33 feet). But now, researchers working in northeastern China have found evidence of an extremely small pterodactyl. The animal's wingspan measured just 25 centimeters (10 inches). The creature was about the size of a house sparrow. The tiny pterodactyl has been named Nemicolopterus crypticus, which means "hidden flying forest dweller." The animal had no teeth. And it lived 120 million years ago, say the scientists who found the fossil. They work at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. The scientists found the fossil buried in rocks. Other fossils found in these same rocks indicate that the region used to be at the bottom of a lake in a heavily forested area. Many of the bones in the animal's feet were strongly curved. That suggests that N. crypticus spent a lot of time grasping tree limbs, says lead researcher Alexander W.A. Kellner. On the basis of the size of its skull bones, the researchers could tell that the animal was not fully grown. They don't know how much bigger it might have become. But, Kellner says, "even if it were doubled in size, it would still be the smallest pterosaur yet found."—Emily Sohn

Tiny Pterodactyl
Tiny Pterodactyl

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