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The Flying Reptile Thread- Anything pterosaur related



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

    These are some great resources! I will post the links on the corresponding threads by subject.

    Thank you for sharing!

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

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

    Remains of tapejarid pterodactyl found in the UK for the first time:


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

    Study on Rhamphorhynchus finds they could fly as hatchlings, unlike most birds or bats.


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

    Ornithocheirid pterosaur found in Mexico, is the latest of its kind (and first found in the country):

    Ornithocheirids were made famous by Walking with Dinosaurs and included some of the largest toothed pterosaurs ever to exist.


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

    Cretaceous pterodactyl Lonchodraco had a sensitive beak tip for tactile hunting, study suggests:


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

    New study challenges the idea that pterosaurs were fuzzy, instead proposing that the traces of filaments are from the wing fibers that decayed and unraveled after death.


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

    Upcoming study on the wing bones of a Tropeognathus-type pterosaur from Brazil suggests a wingspan of about 7.6 m, making it one of the largest pterosaurs on record.Moreover, everything in the specimen suggests it was a juvenile that still could've grown considerably larger.

    This suggests gigantic ornithocheirids like the one famously portrayed in Walking with Dinosaurs (and since considered highly speculative) really did exist. Although the study does not give a wingspan estimate for the fully grown animal, there's already informal estimates going around online of about 11 m (the WWD "Ornithocheirus" was said to have a 12 m wingspan).

    If correct this would make the Brazilian ornithocheirid not only the largest toothed pterosaur, but also the largest pterosaur currently known from the southern Hemisphere.


    Keep an eye out for this one!

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

    Dietary diversity of pterosaurs revealed by dental analysis:

    The study finds that the earliest pterosaurs were likely hunters of invertebrates, and later diversified into other niches including durophages (hard shelled invertebrate eaters), piscivores, and both specialized and generalist carnivores.


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

    Pterosaur wing recovered from Morocco's fossil rich phosphate mines is assigned to Tethydraco; its morphology suggests it was not a pteranodontian as originally believed, but an azhdarchid (member of the same family as the enormous Quetzalcoatlus).

    The study finds that the high abundance of azhdarchid remains in the open marine deposits of Morocco would suggest these pterosaurs were not limited to inland terrestrial environments as has recently been suggested (some of them were apparently marine).

    It should be noted that these fossils are older than those of say, Quetzalcoatlus or Hatzegopteryx, so it is not impossible that the azhdarchids started out as marine pterosaurs and later became adapted to inland environments, or even that they were very diverse since their early evolution.


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

    Pterosaurs got more efficient at flying through small improvements, rather than sudden evolutionary leaps, over 150 million years.


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

    Fossil "shark spines" from England turn out to be pterosaur jaws:

    They likely belong to Ornithostoma, once believed to be an Old World relative to Pteranodon (but now believed to be closer perhaps to Tapejara).


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

    Flightless Triassic reptiles called lagerpetids found to be closely related to pterosaurs, likely similar to their ancestral form:
    Lagerpetids, first described in the 1970s and represented by reptiles such as Lagerpeton in Argentina and Dromomeron in New Mexico, are enigmatic animals. They have long been thought to be relevant to the origins of dinosaurs—or at least to the larger group that both dinosaurs and pterosaurs belong to. Through new discoveries of skull material, as well as high-resolution CT scans, Nesbitt and his co-authors propose that lagerpetids are most closely related to pterosaurs. Thus, these reptiles, which lived between about 237 million and 201 million years ago, offer an outline of what the ancestor of pterosaurs may have looked like. “Lagerpetids would have the basic body form and skull anatomy of what we think was the common ancestor of pterosaurs and lagerpetids,” Nesbitt says, adding that “lagerpetids are essentially flightless pterosaurs.”


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

    On Romania's giant pterosaur "Dracula" (article in Czech). It could be the largest pterosaur found thus far.
    The fossil was located 80 meters above the level of the surrounding terrain, in a layer lying on a 120 meter high cliff. Due to the location of the find and its enormous dimensions and "terrifying appearance", the fossil began to be nicknamed Dracula. Paleontologists say they had no idea until the last moment what fossil it might be. Today, a replica of the skeleton of a new giant pterosaur "about the height of a giraffe" is housed in the museum's exhibition in Denkendorf, Bavaria, as part of the "Rulers of the Sky" exhibition.

    Experts will wonder if this is another giant specimen of another species of Hatzegopteryx thambema, a giant bird lizard, inhabiting the ecosystems of the so-called Haţeg island during the Late Cretaceous.

    However, according to scientists involved in the discovery of the giant pterosaur, it is an even geologically younger and completely separate species that lived at the very end of the Cretaceous, just before the catastrophe that wiped out the dinosaurs. In any case, they were the inhabitants of a tropical lagoon, which once spread over the territory of today's Romania, and was undoubtedly the dominant predator of its ecosystems.

    And how big should this winged giant be? Very rough estimates by the German paleontologist Raimund Albersdorfer from the Altmühltahl Dinosaur Museum (where the newly exhibited replica of the hitherto undescribed bird lizard skeleton is located) speak of 500 kilograms in weight and a wingspan of at least 12 meters.

    We can certainly omit the estimated ceiling of 20 meters, because in this case we would probably be moving beyond the biomechanical limit for flying animals. Nevertheless, it was supposed to be an extremely robust bird lizard, whose neck was "as wide as an adult male" and the wrist bone "larger than a mammoth's."

    These are some photographs of the "Dracula" pterosaur replica the article mentions:




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

    Pteranodontids found in the Volga region, suggest fauna was largely the same as in North America. Article is in Russian:
    At the end of the Cretaceous, a shallow sea was located on the site of the Volga steppes. Animals that were strikingly similar to the well-studied American fauna lived here: the same mosasaurs, sea turtles, birds. New finds increased this list: it turned out that pterosaurs from the pteranodontid family were also found in the Volga region, a striking distinctive feature of which are large crests on the head. Previously, representatives of pteranodontids were found mainly in North America.

    Steppe gullies on the border of the Volgograd and Saratov regions have been bringing interesting paleontological material for more than a hundred years. There are found the remains of various marine animals of the end of the Cretaceous period (Campanian and Maastrichtian centuries, 83-66 million years ago). In those days, the ocean level was tens of meters higher than the modern one (at some moments - by 200-250 meters), therefore, a significant part of the Volga region (as well as the whole of Europe) was covered with shallow seas.

    Half of the finds belong to large turtles close to the North American Protostega gigas. Less common are the bones of mosasaurs, including well-preserved fragments of the skulls of Clidastes propython, previously known exclusively from finds in the Cretaceous deposits of the United States. There are also huge, football-sized vertebrae of long-necked elasmosaurs. In other localities of the region, toothed hesperornis birds, similar to American ones, were found.

    The finds clearly demonstrate that the large marine fauna of the Mesozoic had a relatively low species diversity and was distinguished by a large range, like modern cetaceans. It can be assumed that marine reptiles similarly migrated all over the planet and populated any suitable basins. Hesperornis, according to the paleontologist L.A. Nesov, could also use the passing currents for migrations. It is worth noting that the Atlantic at that time was still narrow and shallow, and the Hesperornis could easily overcome it.

    Until recently, flying reptiles were a peculiar exception in the picture of the similarity of faunas.

    Saratov pteranodons, like North American ones, were very large animals. Comparison of scattered bones with more complete remains from the United States made it possible to calculate the size of two Saratov individuals. According to the resulting estimates, one of them had a wingspan of about five meters, the other about 6.5 meters.

    Pteranodontids are of course the prototypical "pterodactyls" made famous by movies and other media (specifically the type genus Pteranodon, as other potential pteranodontid genera are rather poorly studied). They were the largest flying animals known for a long time until the discovery of Quetzalcoatlus in the 1970s.

    This is not the first discovery of pteranodontids outside of North America- possible remains had already been found in Japan, for example.

    A 2010 study suggested that giant pterosaurs like Pteranodon could fly around the globe with relative ease, being well prepared to travel tens of thousands of kms non stop, meaning at least some of them would be expected to have large, near-cosmopolitan distributions (unlike most smaller birds today that tend to be more geographically limited). If the Volga fossils are found to be identical to North America's Pteranodon, it may be good evidence supporting this.