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Creature of the Week #26: Zhenjiangopterus

  • 03-10-2011 8:32pm
    #1
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Zhenjiangopterus linhaiensis was an azhdarchid pterosaur. It lived in the late Cretaceous, about 81 million years ago, and its remains were found in China and named in 1994.

    The way we imagine and depict azhdarchids today is heavily influenced by Zhenjiangopterus, as it is the most complete member of the family yet found. At first it was thought that Zhenjiangopterus was a relative to Pteranodon and Nyctosaurus (because these were the only toothless pterosaurs known at the time), but in 1997, it was found that it was more related to Quetzalcoatlus, and thus included in Azhdarchidae.

    Several specimens of Zhenjiangopterus have been found, all belonging to the same species. They show that the animal had relatively short wings, but still could have a wingspan of up to 3.4-5 meters, being considerably larger than any modern day flying bird.
    Like other azhdarchids, it is likely that it hunted on the ground for smaller animals. It had a long, thin beak, a long neck and lacked any kind of crest or ornament (unless of course these were not preserved due to being made of keratin or some other softer tissue).
    Zhenjiangopterus_jconway.jpg


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,747 Galvasean


    Excellent choice Mister Khor.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Thanx! :D Gotta love azhdarchids


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 7,231 ✭✭✭ Yitzhak Rabin


    So did they descend from birds/pterosaurs that originally flew, or what were the point of the wings if it was ground dwelling?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    yekahS wrote: »
    So did they descend from birds/pterosaurs that originally flew, or what were the point of the wings if it was ground dwelling?

    Oh, it COULD fly, but it hunted on the ground. Nothing strange really- many birds today are the same, think storks, ground hornbills, roadrunners, caracara...


  • Registered Users Posts: 128 ✭✭ Allosaur


    Galvasean wrote: »
    Excellent choice Mister Khor.
    I think it's a pterrible choice. (see what I done there?)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 Rubecula


    Allosaur wrote: »
    I think it's a pterrible choice. (see what I done there?)

    Ptruly pterrific if you ask me.

    (Pah flying beasties...LOL)


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Adam Khor


    Ptotally pterrific :D


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