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New pterosaur papers

From: Ben Creisler

Here are a number of new papers about pterosaurs:

Chang-Fu Zhou and Rainer R. Schoch (2011)
New material of the non-pterodactyloid pterosaur Changchengopterus pani LÜ,
2009 from the Late Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of western Liaoning 
Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie - Abhandlungen (advance
DOI: 10.1127/0077-7749/2011/0131

Recent discoveries of non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs in the Late Jurassic
lacustrine deposits of Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Liaoning, northeastern
China, represent a new assemblage in the Jurassic terrestrial ecosystem.
Here, a new pterosaur skeleton is described from the Late Jurassic
Tiaojishan Formation of Jianchang, western Liaoning, China, as
Changchengopterus pani LÜ, 2009 by the elongated cervical vertebrae,
similar proportions of the wing fingers, metacarpals I-III disparate in
length, and extremely-elongated zygapophyses. This discovery provides new
information of the postcranial skeleton in the understanding of bony
anatomy of Changchengopterus, and also further highlights its similarity
with the recently-erected Darwinopterus and Wukongopterus. The three
co-existing taxa are distinguished here by shape differences in the pedal
digit V-2, but final confirmation requires discovery of more complete
material. The new find expands the geographic range of Changchengopterus in
neighbouring areas of Hebei and Liaoning. 

Ross A. Elgin and Eberhard Frey (2011)
A nearly complete ornithocheirid pterosaur from the Crato Formation
(Aptian, Early Cretaceous) of NE Brazil.
Ross A. Elgin and Eberhard Frey (2011)
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica in press
available online 31 Mar 2011 

A partial ornithocheirid, representing a rare example of a pterosaurian
body fossil from the Nova Olinda Member of the Crato Formation, NE Brazil,
is described from the collections of the State Museum of Natural History,
Karlsruhe. While similar in preservation and taphonomy to Arthurdactylus
conandoylei, it is distinguished by slight differences in biometric ratios,
but the absence of a skull prevents closer identification. Mostly complete
body fossils belonging to ornithocheiroid pterosaurs appear to be
relatively more abundant in the younger Romualdo Member of the Santana
Formation, making the described specimen one of only two well documented
ornithocheiroids known from the Nova Olinda Lagerstätte.

Edina Prondvai & Attila Osi (2011)
Potential For Intracranial Movements in Pterosaurs.
The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary
Early View (Articles online in advance of print)
doi: 10.1002/ar.21376

Based on comparative anatomical, morphological, and phylogenetic
considerations the potential of pterosaurs for cranial kinesis is assessed.
Our investigation shows that whereas skeletally mature derived
pterodactyloids have completely fused, rigid and doubtlessly akinetic
skulls, skeletally immature derived pterodactyloids and more basal
pterosaurs possess key features in the morphology of their otic and basal
joints that are suggestive of cranial kinesis, namely streptostyly. In
addition, pterosaurs exhibit an evolutionarily informative trend in the
degree of cranial ossification, where it is low in most nonpterodactyloids
(here named bifenestratans), intermediate in Rhamphorhynchus and
Archaeopterodactyloidea, and high in derived pterodactyloids. Incomplete
fusion could also indicate loose connections between skull elements.
However, another crucial anatomical requirement of a kinetic skull, the
permissive kinematic linkage is absent in all pterosaurian taxa. The fact,
that the presence of permissive kinematic linkages in the skull is also a
prerequisite of all types of cranial kinesis, provides hard evidence that
all members of Pterosauria had akinetic skulls. Thus, the presence of the
morphological attributes indicative of intracranial movements in some
pterosaurs must be explained on grounds other than real potential for
cranial kinesis. It could either be of mechanical or ontogenetic
importance, or both. Alternatively, it might be considered as the
morphological remnant of a real, kinetic skull possessed by the diapsid
ancestors of pterosaurs. 

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