like to consider several closely related specimens conspecific and/or congeneric.
do the opposite. Rarely are specimens conspecific and/or congeneric in their eyes.
In my studies
of pterosaurs I have never seen two specimens collected at different times and in different places that were conspecific. So I guess that makes me a splitter, but I have to work within the confines of traditional naming paradigms.
In Witton et al. 2015,
I believe I have found a germanodactylid (NMING F15005) pictured in Witton et al. 2015, that may be conspecific with a previously discovered germanodactylid (SMNK PAL 64592, Fig. 1), based on comparative skull anatomy only.
The two skulls are almost identical… almost.
The question is… are the differences enough to create a new species? Or not?
So what are the differences in the NMING specimen?
- The anterior dentary is deeper
- More teeth are present in the dentary
- The antorbital fenestra is longer (further anteriorly)
- The anterior jugal is taller and more gracile
- The lower antorbital fenestra bar (mx + ju) is more gracile
- The quadrate leans further posteriorly
- The postorbital appears to be more gracile and lower on the cranium
- The base of the orbit is not pointed, but flat creating a larger orbit area
So, are these two specimens conspecific?
Depends if you’re a lumper or a splitter. Do you judge these trait differences as individual variation? or just a little beyond that?
I hope you’ll also take note
that at first glance these two skulls appear identical. Putting them side-by-side helps bring out the differences. Always try to make your comparative presentations side by side.
Witton MP, O’Sullivan M and Martill DM 2015. The relationships of Cuspicephalus scarfi Martill and Etches, 2013 and Normannognathus wellnhoferi Buffetaut et al., 1998 to other monofenestratan pterosaurs.