Monday, July 2, 2012

They keep on coming

Yes descriptions of new pterosaurs don't quite keep up with the rates of new dinosaurs, but they don't do badly either. This is the skull of Morganopterus, yet another (and yes, arguably one of too many) boreopterids to come out of China in recent years. While the group is already known for having long, low heads with far too many teeth, this one does seem to be going for a record.

It's big too - nearly a metre long if you include the little crest off the back of the head (and there's a small one over the tips of the upper jaw too). Not too many years ago Pteranodon was the only pterosaur known with this kind of posteriorly directed head-crest but now we have Ludodacylus and Morganopterus too so they're starting to be come pretty common in the ornithocheiroids. I'd be far from surprised if a few more didn't turn up in the next few years on new species or better specimens of already recognised taxa.

This is a nice specimen and it seemed too interesting not to share, though I don't have too much to say about it right this minute. Still, if new pterosaurs are your thing, stay tuned, there's something due out Thursday which I hope will turn a few heads.

P.S. The image is Fig 1 in the paper, but this version was kindly sent to me by Lu Junchang.