Wukongopterus – with a broken leg

Pterosaur fossils can get pretty messed up over 150 million years. Most of that happens during their lifetime or shortly thereafter as they sink into sediments.

Wukongopterus (IVPP V15113 , Wang et al. 2009) is a not-quite complete specimen that preserves a broken leg (Fig. 1). The Daohugou Bed of the Tiaojishan Formation was originally described as Early Cretaceous, but is now dated to the Middle/Late Jurassic boundary. This makes more sense with regard to phylogenetic order.

Figure 1. Wukongopterus with a broken tibia (in pink).

Figure 1. Wukongopterus with a broken tibia (in pink). It looks like the tibia was kept in place by tendons and dermis after the break, whether before or after death. Compare the broken tibia to the unbroken one. Even the foot was twisted medial to lateral.

References

Wang X, Kellner AWA, Jiang S and Meng X 2009. An unusual long-tailed pterosaur with elongated neck from western Liaoning of China. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 81 (4): 793–812.

wiki/Wukongopterus

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