What lies beneath? Pterorhynchus part 2: chin fuzz

Yesterday we wondered what that feathery blob of tissue was beneath the jaws of the pterosaur Pterorhynchus (Czerkas and Ji 2002). Today, thanks to colleague, Tracy Ford, we now have an image in higher resolution under UV lighting (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Animated GIF of Pterorhynchus taken in UV light with overlays and tracings. The 'wattle' appears to have two major parts and the lower part appears to be made of at least three feathery ribbons or plumes.

Figure 1. Animated GIF of Pterorhynchus taken in UV light with overlays and tracings. The ‘wattle’ appears to have two major parts and the lower part appears to be made of at least three feathery ribbons or plumes.

Now that we can see ‘the wattle’ better,
how do we interpret it? Here’s my first take on it (Fig. 1) using DGS:

This structure appears to have two parts.
1) proximally: long feathery pycnofibers originating at the back of the throat (relatively uncontroversial)

2) distally: six or seven strips or hairy/feathery plumes hanging from the front to mid-throat, not stiff, but as free-flowing as ribbons. If these are part of the pterosaur, then they would make it a pterosaur-of-paradise. The head crest and tail vanes on a super-long tail (Fig. 2) appear to indicate a pterosaur bent on being beautiful, which supports the chin-ribbon hypothesis (novel).

Watch the GIF animation through a few cycles 
to see if any of the above makes sense. If not, feel free to offer alternate interpretations.

Figure 2. Pterorhynchus with soft tissue.

Figure 2. Pterorhynchus with soft tissue.

References
Czerkas SA and Ji Q 2002. A new rhamphorhynchoid with a headcrest and complex integumentary structures. In: Czerkas SJ ed. Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight. The Dinosaur Museum:Blanding, Utah, 15-41. ISBN 1-93207-501-1.

 

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