Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meet Bellubrunnus: New Pterosaur in PLoS ONE

Dave Hone and colleagues have just published a fantastic description of a new pterosaur in PLoS ONE.  You can read (and download, if desired) the paper here.  This new critter is particularly fun because it has wingtips that curve anteriorly; which is unique among pterosaurs known to date.  Very cool stuff, and if you want to know more, obviously read the full paper, as well as the discussion by Dr. Hone himself at Archosaur Musings.

Here is a section of the Abstract from the original article:

Methodology/Principal Findings
The specimen was examined firsthand by all authors. Additional investigation and photography under UV light to reveal details of the bones not easily seen under normal lighting regimes was completed.
Conclusions/Significance

This taxon heralds from a newly explored locality that is older than the classic Solnhofen beds. While similar to Rhamphorhynchus, the new taxon differs in the number of teeth, shape of the humerus and femur, and limb proportions. Unlike other derived non-pterodacytyloids, Bellubrunnus lacks elongate chevrons and zygapophyses in the tail, and unlike all other known pterosaurs, the wingtips are curved anteriorly, potentially giving it a unique flight profile.

Cheers!

--MH


2 comments:

  1. Very exciting to find a pterosaur unlike any other in its forward curving wingtips. Hope its not just an individual malformation.

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    1. It is indeed very neat. There's always the chance it was pathological, but it seems highly unlikely at present because it's bilateral, and because the critter, while young, seems to have done some growing already. That implies it was mobile, and a major pathological change to both the wingtips would probably ground most pterosaurs.

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