Giant Pterodactylus in the Cretaceous

All we have
are a pair of cervical vertebrae from the paratype (de Buisonjé 1980) named Santandactylus brasiliensis (Aptian, Brazil, Fig. 1). The closest match is to Pterodactylus longicollum (Fig. 1), otherwise known as Ardeadactylus (Bennett 2013), the largest Solnhofen pterosaur in the lineage of the holotype of Pterodactylus antiquus. Santandadactylus brasiliensis was the largest known pterosaur in the Pterodactylus lineage and extends this lineage past the Late Jurassic. The Aptian is in the late Early Cretaceous.

Figure 1. Santanadactylus brasiliensis, is not an ornithocherid or tapejarid, like so many other contemporary pterosaurs.  It is closest to Pterodactylus longicollum from the Late Jurassic of the Solnhofen formation.

Figure 1. Santanadactylus brasiliensis, is not an ornithocherid or tapejarid, like so many other contemporary pterosaurs. It appears closest to Pterodactylus longicollum from the Late Jurassic of the Solnhofen formation. 

Okay, so it’s not a giant pterosaur.
But Santanadactylus brasiliensis is a giant Pterodactylus If it follows in the pattern of post-Jurassic Germanodactylus, then we might expect to see some cresting here when the skull becomes known. That little crested skull in the box in the lower left had corner is Normannognathus, which we’ll look at next.

Rumor
We’ll discuss the really giant Pterodactylus (much taller than a human) when the paper gets published.

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.

References
de Buisonjé, PH1980. Santanadactylus brasiliensis nov.gen. nov.sp. a longnecked, large pterosaur from the Aptian of Brazil. Proceedings of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen B 83(2):145-172.

2 thoughts on “Giant Pterodactylus in the Cretaceous

  1. The humerus is the holotype, not the paratype. Perhaps you were not aware that according to the large pterosaur tree the warped dp crest appeared at least twice. I have no problem with it appearing thrice. From Wikipedia: “The structure of the humerus suggests an ornithocheirid, but the long neck vertebrae argue against this.” Also, from the same post: ” [Santanadactylus] is based on holotype UvA M 4894 (Geological Institute of the University of Amsterdam), an upper part of the right humerus and a right scapulacoracoid; other remains were also included in the genus: this paratype consisted of two cervical vertebrae from a different individual, referred because they were found in the same lot of 25 chalk nodules bought from collectors.”

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