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--- firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> From: Ben Creisler email@example.com
> Re: Pterodactylus web article for National
> Because of at least one personal request, here's a
> (and less than perfect) translation of the German
> text of
> the article (somebody else may do better!):
> Pterosaurs Walked on All Fours
> It was a spectactular find that no one appreciated
> first, least of all the two paleontologists Helmut
> Tischlinger from Stammham and Eberhart "Dino" Frey
> of the
> National Museum of Natural History at Karlsruhe.
> broken limestone slabs from the Langenaltheimer
> did not look particularly impressive at the
> time"--so went
> their original assessment of the ancient reptile
> when they were still mostly covered in sedimentary
> The recently completed preparation of the fossil
> Solnhofen provides completely new information about
> anatomy of pterosaurs: for the first time the new
> finds prove that the ancient rulers of the sky
> walked on all fours.
> Caption: Reconstruction of Pterodactylus antinquus
> in a
> four-legged stance based on the new findings. The
> with the three small fingers is rotated back.
> The preparation of the fossil was done entirely
> ultraviolet light. Besides the excellently
> preserved skin
> impressions of the wing and flight surfaces,
> unknown soft-tissue structures in the head region
> and on
> the feet were brought to light. Thus the researchers
> only exposed the remains of the bizarre dermal comb
> top of the head --similar to that known from other
> pterosaurs-- but could detect for the first time a
> beak-sheath on the tips of the jaws.
> Caption: Pterodactylus sp., new find from the Malm
> Zeta 2b
> at Langenalheim, approx. 20 cm. long
> The hindlimbs of the Langenaltheimer Pterodactylus
> special attention: yet another type of connecting
> stretched between the metatarsals and toe bones .
> New for
> the genus were sickle-shaped curved horny
> claw-sheaths on
> the toes as well as scaly padding on the soles and
> Caption: A large short-tailed pterosaur (head-length
> cm) from the Solnhofen limestone. Soft-tissue can
> recognized on the occiput and neck, while hair-like
> structures are conspicuous along the neck.
> They confirm in an impressive manner the findings
> the Langenaltheimer specimen
> Thanks to these insights, the 150-year old debate
> whether pterosaurs walked on two legs like birds or
> four legs like bats, can be decided in favor of the
> footed locomotion.
> Caption: Pterodactylus sp. UV-picture of the
> Between the toes of the left foot remains of webbing
> fiber bundles can be recognized, as well as the
> curved claw-sheaths.
> Not all questions about pterosaurs have been settled
> >From their first occurrence 215 million years ago
> the Triassic to their extinction in the Cretaceous
> million years ago, pterosaurs ultimately reached
> size and great diversity, and ruled the prehistoric
> long before the emergence of birds. The smallest of
> than 120 species were not much larger than a thrush,
> largest achieved a wingspan of nearly 12 meters.
> Experience more about pterosaurs in the May 2001
> issue of
> National Geographic Deutschland and read about them
> on our
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