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Regarding the holotype of Pterodactylus antiquus:  there is an impression of
the proximal femur in the limestone suggesting that the most likely
explanation for the present absence of the proximal femur is loss when the
slab was split upon collection.  The head of the femur is most certainly not
in the UTF.


S. Christopher Bennett, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Basic Sciences
College of Chiropractic
University of Bridgeport
Bridgeport, CT 06601-2449

----- Original Message -----
From: <darren.naish@port.ac.uk>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Cc: <davidrpeters@earthlink.net>
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 11:13 AM

> Re: the holotype of _Pterodactylus antiquus_ with its
> broken femur, Dave Peters asked...
> ----------------
> 2. What sort of of taphonomic process would be strong
> enough to crack off a femoral head and leave the rest of the
> skeleton undamaged?
> ----------------
> In my research collection here at UOP is a cormorant
> (_Phalacrocorax carbo_) that I found dead on an Isle of
> Wight beach. Funnily enough it was discovered on the field
> trip that followed the _Cretaceous Biodiversity_
> symposium. Dave Unwin were you there? It was in
> excellent condition and displayed no signs of malnutrition,
> trauma or injury (the cormorant, not Dave Unwin). Paul
> Davis provided the heavy-duty bag that it was carried home
> in (luckily it didn't smell bad so I managed to get it back to
> Portsmouth on the ferry ok). Violating health and safety
> protocol, I later skeletonised it in the university grounds.
> Anyway, cutting a long story short, the skeleton was in
> pristine condition (excluding a healed fracture on the sternal
> carina) excepting a cleanly broken femoral shaft. This may
> have been caused by whatever event led to its death but,
> there you go. I suppose it might have suffered a collision of
> some sort.
> Needless to say you should check out Chris Bennett's new
> paper in the latest _Palaeontology_ (note spelling) for a full
> account of pterodactyloid pathologies.
> --
> Darren Naish
> School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
> University of Portsmouth UK, PO1 3QL
> email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
> tel: 023 92846045