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Pterosaur Ecology



  Funny how predatory hunting in pterosaurs creeps up :)

  Considering the nearly prevalent impression that all
pterosaurs are marine feeders (fish, etc.) it has focused on the
supposedly piscivore qualities of most
marine/lacustrine-preserved pterosaurs.

  Two broad-mouthed pterosaurs (anurognathids) provide the first
evidence of a variant diet: insects, based on supposedly
insectivore qualities of the jaw (broadness) that seems to be
present in predominately insectivore birds (caprimulgiforms) and
bats (most microbats have short, broad jaws with very large
anterior teeth, as in *Batrachognathus*). While carrionivory was
suggested for azhdarchids, it should be plain by now from emails
to this list [from James Cunningham] that piscivory is still
supported for this pterosaur and a great deal of large
Cretaceous pterosaurs without teeth. Mulloscivory has been
suggested for *Djungaripterus* and its apparent other
djungaripterids possessed this ability, too, to a lesser degree,
or a modification of marine/lacustrine feeding. We can always
suggest that "Phobetor" was macropredacious....

  There are several pterosaurs with reduced procumbency
(*Scaphognathus*) that could be predators on mammalian or
non-piscivoran fauna; Bakker (1986) even illustrated a
scaphognath predating a group of anurognaths. Fact is,
pterosaurs with teeth are all strongly procumbently toothed,
there are few features to assume they are nothing but
piscivorous. Multidont pterosaurs as in ctenochasmatids and the
pro-azhdarch *Huanhepterus* were possibly strain-feeders, as
suggested by the interlocking tight arrangement of teeth. Those
teeth in *Huanhepterus* are oriented vertically in the type, and
it is unknown wheather they are splayed in life; the same form
is known in side-ways crushed jaws in the Bavarische
ctenochasmatids, so this is not evidence of any true
orientation.

  As also stated, inland preservation of pterosaurs is virtually
non-existent, and this may select against known about
macropredacious pterosaurs.

  Anyways, that's my piece of the mess,

=====
Jaime A. Headden

  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhr-gen-ti-na
  Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Pampas!!!!

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