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good news for BPM 0002 fans and more babies
BPM 0002 (Lü 2002) is another headless fossil, somewhat disarticulated
(pectoral girdle and wing drifted posterior to the feet) but otherwise
complete. PAUP analysis placed it close to Angustinaripterus and
plantigrade wading pterodactyloids. The matrix is loaded with skulls,
some tiny, some not so tiny. None unfortunately large enough to go with
the primary fossil. However, if the skulls all have the same
morphology-- that is, if it proves to be a monospecifice bone bed --
then we might get some insight. From what I can tell so far, this seems
to be the case.
Now, for all those who have been looking for babies without success,
here are some widely published, overlooked naked-eye babies for you to
see (you might want to use a loop though to capture the details).
On page 88 of National Geographic, May 2001 there is a full page picture
of Pterodactylus kochi. A crack runs throught the fossil from NW to SE.
To the right of the fossil are two "chips" in the crack in which the
topmost matrix has popped off revealing what lies 1 mm below. Look
closely and you'll see small, short snouted, big-eyed pterosaur babies.
You'll probably only recognize the large scleral ring and the lineup of
four teeth. The left one faces right. The right one, deep in the page
gutter, faces left. The left one appears to also have a vertebral
column, but remember, you're looking at an "overprint" a slight mound
over the primary fossil, as if it was blanketed. No doubt they are
complete beneath this blanket. A third one is between the legs of its
mother having just been delivered. The wings form soft curves filling
the area bordered by the legs, posteriorly both wings point toward
mama's vent. The head, a little more difficult to see, is below the
final joint in the wing finger. A scleral ring appears just to the left
of the joint.
Happy hunting! I'm sure a sharp-eyed observer will see more.
Lü, J-C (2002) Soft tissue in an Early Cretaceous pterosaur from
Liaoning Province, China. Memoir of the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur
Museum (2002) 1: 19-28