Pterodactylus grandipelvis – what is it?

Pterodactylus grandipelvis is known from two “grand pelves.” And they’ve been known for about 150 years. TM6927 is the holotype (von Meyer 1859/1860). BSP 1883 XVI is the referred specimen. Oddly, both are preserved exactly alike, as a sacrum, two ilia and prepubes. An ischium impression may be ephemerally present on the holotype.

Pterodactylus grandipelvis is a nomen dubium according to S. C. Bennett 2013.

Pterodactylus grandipelvis holotype.

Figure 1. Pterodactylus grandipelvis holotype.

Pterodactylus grandipelvis would have been one of the largest pterosaurs of the Late Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone. I looked around at reptileevolution.com and could find no better match for it than Cycnorhamphus (Fig 3). Notably the “Pterodactylus” grandipelvis was at least twice the size.

Pterodactylus grandipelvis referred specimen BSP 1883 XVI

Figure 2. Pterodactylus grandipelvis referred specimen BSP 1883 XVI

We know of larger cycnorhamphids, like Moganopterus from China. Giant animals are relatively less numerous in most ecosystems. Too bad we haven’t found more of this pterosaur in the last 150 years.

Figure 3. Cycnorhamphus to scale with enlarged pelvis (at left) and two pelves attributed to P. grandipelvis to scale.

Figure 3. Cycnorhamphus to scale with its enlarged pelvis (at left) and two pelves attributed to P. grandipelvis to scale. Note that P. grandipelvis is twice the size.

Any additional data on any of these taxa would be gratefully appreciated.

References
Bennett SC 2013. New information on body size and cranial display structures of Pterodactylus antiquus, with a revision of the genus.Palaeontologische Zeitschrift.
Meyer H 1859. Zur Fauna der Vorwelt. Vierte Abt : Reptilien aus dem lithographischen Schiefer des Jura in Deutschland und Frankreich, v. 1, p. 1-84.
Meyer H 1860. Zur Fauna der Vorwelt. Vierte Abt: Reptilien aus dem lithographischen Schiefer des Jura in Deutschland und Frankreich, v. 2, p. 85-144.

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