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the headless juvenile Pterodaustro

Another illusion? Maybe.

Here is what I saw using Photoshop at about 15% of the resolution used 


On the bad side:
1. The parts revealed by Photoshop were not seen originally.

2. Why would a skull and cervical series decay or disappear more rapidly than 
the rest of the skeleton? After all, this is a split slab-counterslab specimen.

3. Of what use that long string tail is â?? or what an aerodynamic burden it 
must have been â?? are beyond my ability to answer. 

On the good side:
1. There is no question that this specimen had a head and cervical series once 

2. The ephemeral head and neck matches in all aspects the embryo described in 
Nature and it resembles the skulls of adult Pterodaustro. This type of soft 
crest is seen in a skull-only specimen and in other ctenochasmatids. The gular 
sac is to be expected.

3. Pterodaustro is already known to have a longer tail than is typically seen 
in ctenochasmatids - which leads one to wonder about the others since 
Pterodastro is the most highly derived form known. [But see 
http://www.pterosaurinfo.com/cteno65_insitu.html for a take on where the long 
tail of Ctenochasma might be hiding]

4. The 'pterodactyloid' kite tail with fletching (vane) is known among other 
pterosaurs, but always poorly ossified in 'pterodactyloid'-grade forms. 

5. Wing unguals and manual digit V are also seen, but rarely reported, in most 
other pterosaurs. Typically they do not preserve as well.

In any case, here is a great demonstration (albeit at reduced resolution) of 
the way one can pinpoint details in a photograph with a precision tracing and 
make it available worldwide. Now, whether what I see is valid or not, at least 
I hope there's no question that this technique can be useful for sharing data 
quickly and precisely.

More later.

David Peters
St. Louis