A basal ornithocheirid from Lebanon

Several basal ornithocheirids are coming out of Lebanon. This one is more complete than most. It is the most basal form I know of with tiny feet. And it’s pretty small for an ornithocheirid.

Figure 1. a basal ornithocheirid, undescribed, from Lebanon.

Figure 1. A  basal ornithocheirid, undescribed, from Lebanon. Probably a full time flyer, but not very large. The skull is about 4 inches long.

More basal ornithocheirids include the JZMP embryo and Yixianopterusboth of which have more typically sized feet and wings. Earlier we looked at the common ancestors of cycnorhamphids and ornithocheirids, including the tiny pterosaur misnamed Pterodactylus? pulchellus.

Here’s a opportunity to discuss fossil interpretation.

Figure 1. Tracing the coracoid and scapula on the fossil. Note the scapula is way to short. The proximal knob, otherwise just a piece of bone here, is identified.

Figure 1. Tracing the coracoid and scapula on the fossil. Note the scapula is way to short unless extended as shown. The proximal knob of the scapula, the part that goes in the notarium, is identified here. Otherwise, it’s just a piece of bone. This is an instance of an educated guess, one that appears to make sense.

Sometimes fossils are less than complete. Sometimes bones go under other bones. Sometimes chunks of matrix that contain bones do not make it back to the lab. Here’s where best guesses come into play, as in figure 1. I’m pretty sure that small piece of bone over the coracoid is the proximal scapula. Let me know if you think you have a better idea or identification here.

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