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putty, glue and Nyctosaurus apomorphies



The FHSM specimen of Nyctosaurus appears to have a rostral crest, but no other 
Nyctosaurus has the character. A photograph of the original specimen at       
http://www.oceansofkansas.com/Pteranodon/FHSM/FHSM_VP-2148-4.jpg     [for all 
to see] appears to indicate a crest made of putty. Since no one has thoroughly 
described this specimen, I'll leave that judgement call to others. For me its 
rostrum crestum dubium. 

With regard to the two (pmx-frontal) crested Nyctosaurus specimens, KJ1 and KJ2 
[sorry, couldn't find any originals online], these two share that fantastic 
crest, but the skulls are otherwise quite distinct. I note that the 
short-snouted one (KJ1, and the only one that comes up as a cast with a Google 
search of images) also has what appears to be deep mandible and a ventrally 
convex maxilla. Unfortunately, no other Nyctosaurus has such a deep mandible or 
such a convex maxilla. Those are Pteranodon characters. While KJ1 appears to 
have a complete rostrum there's no clear premaxilla and once again putty seems 
to form the ventral margin and tip of the rostrum. The mandible is broken into 
several pieces. When reassembled and the long curved cylindrical bone that rims 
the ventroposterior mandible is removed, the mandible depth largely disappears, 
matching other Nyctosaurus. With such data it may be that KJ2 represents the 
true appearance, if one had to pick between the two, because it has more 
Nyctosaurus synapomorphies and fewer Pteranodon synapomorphies.

I make these remarks online because I know DML readers and artists are 
sticklers for accuracy and once someone figures out what Nyctosaurus really 
looked like, they'll want to fix whatever errors may be in their artwork. Also, 
I can't find my pdf of Bennett's paper (2003) on these two, probably lost 
during data transfers from computer to computer in the last seven years. If 
anyone has a copy, it would be warmly appreciated.

Last item: Chris's website displays his homepage    
http://www.fhsu.edu/biology/cbennett/research.html    but all other links are 
coming up blank. If someone has his ear [unfortunately I don't], please tell 
him of the web problem.

All thoughts appreciated, and happy holidays. 

David Peters
St. Louis

cc: JConway

Bennett, S. C. 2003 New crested specimens of the Late Cretaceous 
pterosaurNyctosaurus. Paläontologische Zeitschrift, 77:61-75.