Because the adult skeletal size (other than the head) wasn't much different from the juveniles', the researchers hypothesized that C. dobruskii was fairly precocious and could fly at a young age, Kellner said.
Based on the sediments in which the bones were found, the area was once a vast desert with a central oasis nestled between the sand dunes, the authors wrote in the paper.
Ancient C. dobruskii colonies may have lived around the lake for long periods of time and died during periods of drought or during storms. As the creatures died, the occasional desert storm would wash their remains into the lake, where the watery burial preserved them indefinitely, the researchers said. Another possibility is that the pterosaurs stopped at this spot during ancient migrations, though the authors suspect that is less likely.
The bone bed, with its hundreds of individuals in well-dated geological layers, is some of the strongest evidence yet that the fruit-eating animals were social, Kellner said.
"This was a flock of pterosaurs," Kellner told Live Science.
This finding, in turn, strengthens evidence that other pterosaur species may have been social as well, the authors wrote in the paper.
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Article originally appeared in LiveScience.