More on Yale’s Rhamphorhynchus

Rhamphorhynchus phyllurus,

Figure 1. Rhamphorhynchus phyllurus, courtesy of W. Gearty and D. Brinkman.

One of the best soft tissue preservations known for pterosaurs can be found at Yale University. The specimen YPM VP 001778 (no. 33 in the Wellnhofer 1975 catalog), is preserved dorsal side down with many elements buried, missing or covered by soft tissue. The tail vane is also quite well preserved. The bone around the naris is likely missing, artificially enlarging it. The foot phalangeal patterns are unique. This specimen is closest to the MTM V2008.33.1 specimen (among the dozen or so tested). I’ll get these nested specimens presented in the large pterosaur tree this weekend and do a comparison among several shortly.

Reconstruction of Rhamphorhynchus phyllurus.

Figure 2. Reconstruction of Rhamphorhynchus phyllurus. The great size of the sternal complex is noteworthy. The enlarged naris is likely an artifact. Pedal digit 4 is atypically longer than digit 3 and extends just as far. 

Soft Tissue
These wing membranes do not support a deep chord reconstruction. Note the upper membrane (as preserved) is directed at the wrist (likely due to twisting), then fades. Bottom line, close to the torso preservation is not good.

As always, I encourage readers to see specimens, make observations and come to your own conclusions. Test. Test. And test again.

Evidence and support in the form of nexus, pdf and jpeg files will be sent to all who request additional data.

Wellnhofer P 1975a-c. Teil I.
 Die Rhamphorhynchoidea (Pterosauria) der Oberjura-Plattenkalke Süddeutschlands. Allgemeine Skelettmorphologie. Paleontographica A 148: 1-33.Teil II. Systematische Beschreibung. Paleontographica A 148: 132-186. Teil III. Paläokolgie und Stammesgeschichte. Palaeontographica 149: 1-30.


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