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Eurazhdarcho, new pterosaur from Late Cretaceous of Romania



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

New in PLoS ONE:

Mátyás Vremir, Alexander W. A. Kellner, Darren Naish & Gareth J. Dyke (2013)
A New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous of the
Transylvanian Basin, Romania: Implications for Azhdarchid Diversity
and Distribution.
PLoS ONE 8(1): e54268.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054268
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0054268


We describe a new taxon of medium-sized (wing span ca. 3 m) azhdarchid
pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous Transylvanian Basin (Sebeş
Formation) of Romania. This specimen is the most complete European
azhdarchid yet reported, comprising a partially articulated series of
vertebrae and associated forelimb bones. The new taxon is most similar
to the Central Asian Azhdarcho lancicollis Nessov but possesses a
suite of autapomorphies in its vertebrae that include the relative
proportions of cervicals three and four and the presence of elongated
prezygapophyseal pedicles. The new taxon is interesting in that it
lived contemporaneously with gigantic forms, comparable in size to the
famous Romanian Hatzegopteryx thambema. The presence of two distinct
azhdarchid size classes in a continental depositional environment
further strengthens suggestions that these pterosaurs were strongly
linked to terrestrial floodplain and wooded environments. To support
this discussion, we outline the geological context and taphonomy of
our new specimen and place it in context with other known records for
this widespread and important Late Cretaceous pterosaurian lineage.