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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.