[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Cuspicephalus as a wukongopterid pterosaur (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper in open access:

Mark P. Witton, Michael O'Sullivan &  David M Martil (2015)
The relationships of Cuspicephalus scarfi Martill and Etches, 2013 and
Normannognathus wellnhoferi Buffetaut et al., 1998 to other
monofenestratan pterosaurs.
Contributions to Zoology 84 (2) – 2015

The evolution of pterodactyloid pterosaurs occurred in a ‘modular’
fashion with ‘pterodactyloid’-type crania and cervical vertebrae
evolving in pterodactyloid sister taxa – early monofenestratan
pterosaurs – before later postcervical modifications marked the
development of the true pterodactyloid condition. This means of
evolution creates problems for distinguishing isolated pterodactyloid
crania from those of non-pterodactyloid monofenestratans, and has led
to uncertainty over the affinities of two Late Jurassic European
pterosaurs known only from skulls, Cuspicephalus scarfi Martill and
Etches, 2013 and Normannognathus wellnhoferi Buffetaut et al., 1998.
Some aspects of their cranial anatomy suggest affinities to early
pterodactyloids – specifically the Germanodactylidae – while others
indicate a relationship with a group of non-pterodactyloid
monofenestratans, the Wukongopteridae. Here, we characterise the
skulls of Jurassic monofenestratans to provide greater insight into
the identity of these pterosaurs. We find a suite of characters
indicating that Cuspicephalus is a wukongopterid, notable for being a
particularly large and long snouted member of the group, as well as
the youngest, and the first European record of this clade. The
affinities of Normannognathus are less clear however. We consider its
previous allocation to the Germanodactylidae doubtful, and note some
similarities it shares with ctenochasmatoid pterodactyloids, but the
only known specimen is probably too fragmentary for confident referral
to any specific clade within Monofenestrata.