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Pterosaur palate from Brazil
From: Ben Creisler
New in PLoS ONE:
Felipe L. Pinheiro & Cesar L. Schultz (2012)
An Unusual Pterosaur Specimen (Pterodactyloidea, ?Azhdarchoidea) from
the Early Cretaceous Romualdo Formation of Brazil, and the Evolution
of the Pterodactyloid Palate.
PLoS ONE 7(11): e50088.
A new and unusual specimen of a probable azhdarchoid pterosaur is
described for the Early Cretaceous (Albian) Romualdo Formation of
Brazil. The specimen consists of a palate that, although fragmentary,
has a unique morphology differing from all other known pterosaurs with
preservation of palatal elements. The new specimen probably indicates
the presence of a yet undescribed pterodactyloid taxon for Romualdo
Formation and brings new information on pterosaur diversity of this
sedimentary unity. Mainly due to the rarity of pterodactyloid
specimens with palate preservation, this structure has been overlooked
in this clade. Here, we reassess the palatal anatomy of
Pterodactyloidea, revealing an intriguing variety of morphotypes and
evolutionary trends, some of them described here for the first time.
The morphological disparity displayed by different pterodactyloid taxa
may be further evidence of the presence of diverse feeding strategies
within the clade.