In the skies above the old Eromanga Sea, Haliskia peterseni, a strong flying reptile with bony decorations and pointed teeth, used to hunt sea animals. Recently found in Queensland, Australia, this discovery is the most complete fossil of its kind found in the country, dating back around 100 million years. With a wingspan of 15 feet (4.6 meters), Haliskia is bigger and older than Ferrodraco, a similar creature found in 2019. Its name, “sea phantom,” reflects its eerie presence, similar to the vanished Eromanga Sea that once covered much of Australia, as explained by Adele Pentland, a PhD student studying old life at Curtin University.

Pentland highlights the sea and traces of Haliskia that can still be seen in unearthed fossils. Despite pterosaur skeletons being fragile, Haliskia’s remains—including its lower jaws, throat bones, 43 teeth, backbone, ribs, wing bones, and part of a leg—were very well-preserved. This gives us new insights into the body and habits of these old animals. Pentland also noted the excellent condition of the throat bones, suggesting Haliskia might have had a strong tongue that helped it catch live prey like fish and squid. Haliskia became a fossil because sediment covered it on the bottom of the Eromanga Sea, which kept it in good condition. The name Haliskia comes from Kevin Petersen, who was an avocado farmer but later became a museum curator and found the fossil in 2021.