Congratulations to Jaime Headden, who, along with Hebert Campos, had their discovery of Banguela oberlii, a toothless dsungaripterid NMSG SAO 251093, published. It’s a big jaw tip, producing an estimated skull length of 2 feet (60cm). That’s a bit more than a 50cm Dsungaripterus skull. Missing here is the jaw tip, which we learned earlier is a single tooth.
The Brazilian nickname ‘Banguela’ is commonly given to toothless people (Fig. 2), even though most retain a few teeth.
JH mentioned, “An interesting rule of biology says when animals lose a feature, it cannot be regained. This is called Dollo’s Law, and it tells us about why birds don’t regrow teeth.”
Dollo’s Law needs to be brought up more often, like when pterosaurs are supposed to grow gigantic wing (4th) fingers from the vestiges most archosaurs have. Better to look for those sorts of fingers where they actually are, in the Lepidosauria.
JH reported, “Banguela oberlii is here hypothesized to be a derived dsungaripterid, though in our phylogenetic analysis (Headden & Campos, 2014) the new taxon was placed basal to other dsungaripterids. Further analysis supports a deeper nesting, but this work was not prepared at the time of publication.”
The large pterosaur tree nested dsungaripterids between toothy basal germanodactylids and toothless shenzoupterids and tapejarids, which is probably why Banguela initially nested basal, closer to other toothless clades.We also learned that basal taxa in virtually all pterosaur clades were tiny. So it is a good bet that big Banguela was a terminal, rather than a basal, taxon. There was a trend toward tooth loss in this clade of germanodactylia. Not surprising, but still wonderful, to see a “toothless” dsungaripterid. Any X-rays of those jaws planned?
Headden JA and Campos HBN 2014. An unusual edentulous pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous Romualdo Formation of Brazil. Historical Biology [Published online ahead of print]: 1-13. doi: 10.1080/08912963.2014.904302
More info online here at J. Headden’s blogpost.