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Creature of the Week #10: Jeholopterus

  • 26-01-2010 9:44pm
    #1
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 10,073 marco_polo


    Jeholopterus was a small anurognathid pterosaur discovered in the the Daohugou Beds of northeastern China that lived during the Early Cretaceous. The type specimen Jeholopterus ningchengensis is the only known species of the genus. It was exceptionally preserved with a nearly complete skeleton and detailed soft tissue remains. The preservation of the wing membranes and “hair” is amongst the best of all pterosaurs fossils, the tail being the only signifigant section missing.

    Jeholopterus was quite a small pterosaur with a wing span of 90cm and a skull with a length of only 28mm. The skull Jeholopterus was slightly wider than long, with a frog-like jaw containing small peg-like teeth and a few longer curved ones. It appears to have been an insectivore, as its closest known were, but the possibly of it being a a fish eater has not been totally ruled out. Jeholopterus also sported long curved claws on the hand and feet and the available evidence appears to suggest that the wings attached to the ankle, with an additional wing like membrane between the two hind legs, presumably for extra flight stability.

    jeholopterus-1sm.jpg

    One of the more interesting observations of the original authors was the suggestion that the “hairs” of Jeholopterus bear some resemblance to the hair-like integumental structures of the feathered dinosaur Sinosauropteryx and Beipiaosaurus, just barely hinting at the tantalisinging possibility of protofeathers first originating in the common ancestors of petrosaurs and dinosaurs.

    In addition a more recent study has discovered that the wings had at least three layers of actinofibrils running in a crisscross pattern, suggesting that petrosaurs wings were much more sophisticated and fine tuned for flight control than previously thought.

    103590.jpg


    Two full free journal papers the original discovery description, and the 2009 wing structure study.

    http://www.scichina.com:8080/kxtbe/EN/article/downloadArticleFile.do?attachType=PDF&id=314649

    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/277/1679/321.full.pdf


Comments

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 10,073 marco_polo


    Doh! Just saw the thread on this beast from a few months ago :o. Oh well two late to change it now :). I had trouble find interesting J's to be honest, the only other J I toyed with was a large Anthropod that shall remain nameless for potential future use (Its not hard to guess :D).


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,747 ✭✭✭✭ Galvasean


    No mention of the much ridiculed vampire hypothesis?


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,560 ✭✭✭✭ Kess73


    Galvasean wrote: »
    No mention of the much ridiculed vampire hypothesis?




    No, but the first pic reminds me of the film Critters.

    Well a skinny, gliding version of a critter anyway. :D


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 10,073 marco_polo


    Galvasean wrote: »
    No mention of the much ridiculed vampire hypothesis?

    Editorial decision, too silly :)

    * Edit* Cheers for the thread tagging I was just about to do this now.


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