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New evidence of pterosaur hair and other news



From: Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org
New evidence of pterosaur hair and other news

The supplementary volume for the latest issue of the 
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology contains the following 
abstract:
SOFT TISSUE IN AN EARLY CRETACEOUS PTEROSAUR FROM LIAONING 
PROVINCE, CHINA
Lu Junchang & Wang Xioalin
A scanning electronic microscope (SEM) was used to 
investigate soft tissues of an Early Cretaceous pterosaur 
from the western part of Liaoning Province, China. Results 
of the SEM study show that very thin, short impressions of 
integument derivatives were densely distributed around the 
neck of the animal. We interpret these as evidence 
of "hair-like" structures, perhaps indicating that this 
pterosaur was warm-blooded. There is clear integument 
between the toes similar to the webs ont he feet of wading 
birds. Two kinds of elastic fibers appear to exist, one is 
located on the surface of the interior part of the wing 
membranes, the other is embedded near the margin of the 
wing membranes. Possible blood vessels were found on the 
same layer with the internal elastic fibers. The groove-
like furrows and fine ridges, which were made by the stiff 
fibers were clearly observed near the margin of the wing 
membrane. The wing membranes do not appear to have 
connected to the lower part of the leg.
JVP 21(3) September 2001--ABSTRACTS pg. 74A
Note that the presence of dense hair on the neck of 
pterosaurs was illustrated in the online article about 
Pterodactylus posted on the German version of the National 
Geographic website, making it look like a "mane."

The JVP Abstracts volume also has an abstract from Unwin 
about exceptionally large individuals among pterosaurs, 
some twice the size of typical adults, which may result 
from a variable growth rate (pg. 109A-110A).
Atanassov describes a new archosaur from the Late Triassic 
Dockum Group in west Texas that is said to represent "the 
sister group of pterosaurs."  (pg. 30A)
Chatterjee has an analysis about the flight of pterosaurs. 
(pg. 40A)
Company, Unwin, Pereda-Suberbiola and Ruiz-Omenaca have an 
abstract entitled "A giant azhdarchid pterosaur from the 
latest Cretaceous of Valencia, Spain--The largest flying 
creature ever? This is more info on the La Solana 
pterosaur mentioned elsewhere--remains indicate a single 
species with individuals that range from 5 to 12 meter 
wingspans. (pgs. 41A-42A)

The latest News Bulletin of the SVP (No. 181 Fall 2001) 
contains a news item about  a new gigantic pterosaur from 
Transylvania (pg. 28):
Eric Buffetaut has recently been much involved in 
pterosaur studies. A visit to Bucharest in December 200 
enabled him to work with Dan Grigorescu and Zoltan Csiki 
(University of Bucharest) on remains of a very large 
pterosaur from the Maastrictian of Transylvania. The 
animal, which will be described as a new taxon, is 
remarkable not only for its huge size (probably exceeding 
that of Quetzalcoatlus northropi), but also for its very 
robustly built skull.