Witton’s baby Pterodaustro fantasy

Pterodaustro embryo as falsely imagined in Witton 2013. The actual embryo had a small cranium, small eyes and a very long rostrum.

Figure 1. Pterodaustro embryo as falsely imagined in Witton 2013. The actual embryo had a small cranium, small eyes and a very long rostrum.

Sad for everyone involved,
Witton 2013 completely imagined his embryo Pterodaustro (Fig. 1), giving it giant eyes and a tiny rostrum, as if it was a baby bird. This complete disregards the data that shows the rostrum was very long while the cranium and orbit were very small (Fig. 2), virtually matching the 8x larger adult.

Earlier we examined the ontogenetic growth of another pterosaur with a long rostrum and tiny eye, Zhejiangopterus. So isometric growth is the pterosaur pattern, not allometric growth. Pterosaur hatchlings were not cute!

Pterodaustro embryo

Figure 2. Pterodaustro embryo. There certainly is no short snout/large eye here!

As everyone knows
tracing does have its limitations, but Science can’t support the complete disregard for data that Witton 2013 promotes when he free hands from his hopes and dreams.

Unfortunately this is not the first time I’ve had to shine a light on Witton’s promotion of false data. Here, here and here are others and they also have links.

I encourage Mark Witton to start tracing skeletal elements for more accuracy.  

References
Witton M. 2013. Pterosaurs. Princeton University Press. 291 pages.

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