Although discovered by Brazilian police during a raid, a study highlighting findings on the fossil was published last week and managed to shed light on a creature millions of years old. (photo by Yena Kwon via Unsplash)
The raid—which was part of an investigation into the illegal fossil trade—allowed for authorities to recover thousands of fossils, but that of a prehistoric being known as Tupandactylus navigans has garnered specific worldwide attention.
Smithsonian Magazine details how federal police first burst onto the scene of the illegal operations at the Santos Harbor in 2013. According to Nature, the smuggling of fossils out of the country can land someone a max of 20 years in jail as a 1942 law expressly deems any unauthorized persons digging up fossils are committing a crime.
In this particular case, officers managed to confiscate a number of limestone slabs hidden in barrels, one of which contained an almost perfect skeleton of the Tupandactylus navigans or, as it is also known, a pterosaur.