This post includes updates
On Pterosaur-net.blogspot.com Dr. David Hone invited readers to identify the original specimen number to a plaster cast of a disarticulated Solnhofen long-necked pterosaur labeled Pterodactylus longicollum (Fig. 1). Matthew Parkes, a curator in Dublin, asked Dr. Hone for the help on this old (pre-1891) specimen. No scale bar was provided, but a missing label (lower left) provides some clue, whether the label was 2″ or 4″ long (probably some length in-between). Dr. Hone considered it similar in size to P. logicollum. None of Dr. Hone’s three commenters were able to provide the identification, so I re-present it to you all to help out Dr. Hone in his quest.
Sure it’s a mess, but it’s still worthy.
Dr. Hone reported, “the unusually long and tube-like cervical centra of this taxon are visible at the upper left part of this cast and the size and gross proportions are about right (even if few details are visible).”
Here, using DGS, some bones were identified
It appears that a complete set of cervicals are indeed present (alternating lavender/navy blue bones arcing toward the missing label), so they are not in the upper left hand corner. Those are the radius, ulna, carpals and proximal metacarpal. The two humeri are in red. The sternal complex is brown. One wing is articulated and tipped with phalanx 5 (an ungual, see inset enlarged). The skull and mandible are seen in lateral view, slightly disarticulated, but provided with a posterior spine-like soft crest (longer than in this other specimen) and perhaps more soft-tissue surrounding it. The torso includes a jumble of ribs and the pectoral girdle. A foot appears to be present over the dorsal ribs.
As originally identified, the long metacarpus links this specimen to Pterodactylus longicollum (recently renamed Ardeadactylus). So does the shape of the sternal complex and m4.1, which is longer than mc4. Such traits are also found in the Pterodactylus-like pre-azhdarchid clade (Fig. 4, related to Dorygnathus and Huanhepterus) including n42, n44 and Sos 2428 (n57), the flightless pterosaur (Fig. 3, upper left in blue). Before I put the extra effort into creating the reconstruction and fine tuning certain tracings I reported the above traits suggested the Dublin specimen was related to Pterodactylus longicollum, as originally considered. However, after the reconstruction was made, it appears the specimen was more closely related to the Huanhepterus clade. Still no phylogenetic analysis. That will seal the deal. It is interesting how certain members of the two clades converged.
So, if you can help Dr. Parkes and Dr. Hone identify the museum number of this Dublin specimen, please do so.
Wellnhofer P 1970. Die Pterodactyloidea (Pterosauria) der Oberjura-Plattenkalke Süddeutschlands. Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, N.F., Munich 141: 1-133.