www.solnhofen-fossilienatlas.de is a commercial website selling fossils over the Internet. Sometimes they have spectacular fossils for sale. Yesterday we looked at a new Pterodactylus with bold soft tissue preservation. Today we’ll look at their “juvenile Pterodactylus“ #2042 with subtle soft tissue preservation. As you probably know by now, it’s not a juvenile.
I don’t know the scale of this specimen, but phylogenetic bracketing gives it a skull length of about 2 cm (Fig. 3). The soft tissue does not have a distinct color here, but a distinct texture. Like Pterodactylus (the Vienna specimen), the wing membrane extends to the elbow with a hollow area just aft of the elbows and this blends into a fuselage fillet (Fig. 2). So, this is one more specimen that supports the elbow to wingtip model, contra the traditional ankle to wingtip model that is based completely on hope and excuse, not evidence.
Giant procumbent teeth characterize this taxon, and for good reason. It is nearly identical to a specimen (St/Ei 1= JME 1) that nests between the much larger Angustinaripterus and slightly larger proto-ctenochasmatids.
When all the ribs, prepubes and gastralia had been accounted for, there was a little shape, somewhat like the skull and vertebrae of #2042 in the lower abdomen, but 1/7 the size of the adult. This will take further examination to look for details.
Let me know if this specimen ever appears in a museum.
St/Ei = Stadt/Eichstätt (JME SoS) Jura Museum, Eichstätt, Germany