Another look at the Dublin pterosaur cast

Earlier we tried to help Dr. David Hone spread the word, trying to figure out what Solnhofen specimen the Dublin (National Museum of Ireland) cast was taken from. I attempted a reconstruction, but frankly, I made some mistakes earlier, here largely rectified following a successful nesting.

Here’s the cast with and without a color overlay tracing. I still need to know the scale.

Dublin-Pterodactylus800

Figure 1. The Dublin cast

Figure 2. Bones color re-coded on Dublin "Pterodactylus" cast. Scale unknown. The skull shown here is inverted, mandible side up.

Figure 2. Bones color re-coded on Dublin “Pterodactylus” cast. Scale unknown. The skull shown here is inverted, mandible side up. Brown areas are filled in on the original with plaster of paris.

The radius and ulna as preserved were atypically short, as shown in the reconstruction. The cast shows that these two bones could have continued further off the matrix, so I added some length. What is the length of the torso? Hard to tell. So, there’s some guesswork here (conjecture in gray, fig. 3).

Figure 4. Reconstructed Dublin cast pterosaur. It nests with No. 42 and shares many traits.

Figure 3. Reconstructed Dublin cast pterosaur. It nests with No. 42 and shares many traits.

The Dublin cast (where is the original?) shares more traits with BSPG 1911 I 31 (no. 42 in the Wellnhofer 1970 catalog), itself a tiny pre-azhdarchid rather than a relative of Pterodactylus. The feet are distinctive along with several other traits.

Pterodactylus? elegans? BSPG 1911 I 31 (no. 42 in the Wellnhofer 1970 catalog)

Figure 4. Pterodactylus? elegans? BSPG 1911 I 31 (no. 42 in the Wellnhofer 1970 catalog) a much smaller sister to the Dublin cast pterosaur. Note the pedal morphology among other similarities.

This clade of Pterodactylus-like pterosaurs (and typically mistaken for that genus) nests at the base of flightless pterosaurs and those that ultimately became azhdarchids. So these long-necked taxa, tiny though they are, are where the elongated cervicals originated. So, if anyone wonders why azhdarchids had such long necks, they have to find their answers here. Great size came much later.

There’s not much written (that I know of) concerning these specimens. They both need more study. They seem to have been shallow water waders and competent flyers, convergent with Pterodactylus longicollum.

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