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Pterosaurs with gastroliths
From: Ben Creisler
A new paper in the JVP:
Laura Codorniú, Luis M. Chiappe & Fabricio D. Cid (2013)
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33(3): 647-654
First occurrence of stomach stones in pterosaurs.
Two nearly complete skeletons of the filter-feeding pterodactyloid
Pterodaustro guinazui from the Lower Cretaceous of Argentina exhibit
clusters of poorly sorted coarse sand to fine gravel inside the
abdominal cavity. These stones are interpreted as ingested gastroliths
(geogastroliths), which are commonly found in a variety of archosaurs
(including birds) but have never before been reported in a pterosaur.
The geogastroliths found in these Pterodaustro specimens are
interpreted as having assisted in the digestion of hard food items
such as ‘shelled’ crustaceans that are abundant in the fossil beds of
this pterosaur. One of these specimens with geogastroliths has
anterior mandibular teeth that are notably thicker than the posterior
teeth and are somewhat procumbent. We suggest that these teeth might
have facilitated the apprehension of fine gravel.