Updated September 20 with reception of jpegs of the specimen.
Earlier we looked at the wide variety of Pteranodon crests (Fig. 1). Placed in a phylogenetic analysis the skulls show a gradual evolution from smaller crestless species close to Germanodactylus all the way up giant crested species with a wide variety of crest shapes, followed by a reduction in size preceding extinction (lower right corner of figure 1). Contra tradition, this analysis demonstrates no gender identify and no juvenile identity based on size and crest size — other than a Pteranodon juvenile, nicknamed Ptweety (pictured behind the Q specimen, YPM 2594, which it most closely resembles.
Previously not included on this chart was the Denver specimen, DMNH 1732 (Fig. 1), which sports a complete, but short crest of the long-crest variety, and is otherwise every bit as large as other giant Pteranodon species. Details on this rarely imaged skull have arrived.
This chart shows the gradual evolution regardless of gender.
The Denver specimen might be a short-crested female, but remember, you can’t evolve a long or tall crest without first going through a small or short crest phase. That’s why we’ll have to wait for other clues* before we start assigning gender and age to various specimens of Pteranodon. The skulls all fit into a very neat completely resolved phylogenetic series here, with no two pairing off as male and female… yet.
*As we learned earlier, Bennett’s 1992 purported female Pteranodon pelvis, KUVP 993, is morphologically just a big Nyctosaurus.
Bennett SC 1992. Sexual dimorphism of Pteranodon and other pterosaurs, with comments on cranial crests. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 12: 422–434.