Flugsaurier 2018: Pteraichnus holotype color coded

Flugsaurier 2018 part 5
Since the purpose of the symposium is increase understanding of pterosaurs, I hope this small contribution helps.

The first pterosaur tracks
to be published (Stokes 1957. FIg. 1) were the subject of an abstract by Breithaupt and Matthews (2018). They created a color-coded digital elevation model (DEM) to which I added a slightly enlarged Pterodactylus longicullum as a trackmaker.

FIgure 1. Pteraichnus tracks scanned by Breithaupt and Matthews 2018 with Pterodactylus longicullum, slightly enlarged, to fit.

FIgure 1. Pteraichnus tracks scanned by Breithaupt and Matthews 2018 with Pterodactylus longicullum, slightly enlarged, to fit in a feeding posture.

The only problem is…
this virtually complete specimen of P. longicollum lacks fingers 1–3 and feet. So why did I do this?

Phylogenetic bracketing.
The pedal and manual impressions of the Pteraichnus track most closely match those of the much smaller, but related P. antiquus. So it’s a combination of phylogeny and size. No other taxa in the trackmaker guide to pterosaur feet (Peters 2011) are more similar to the hypothetical trackmaker than P. antiquus.

The feeding posture
Beachcombing pterosaurs like P. longicollum had long limbs to raise their bodies out of the surf that their feet and hands walked through. In this way they converged with larger and much larger azhdarchids. They were looking down for beach fauna and underwater fish and invertebrates. Although many clades of pterosaurs adopted beach combing for prey, many others did not and they did not have this same sort of quadrupedal posture.

Breithaupt BH and Matthews NA 2018. New visualizations of the three-dimensional, terrestrial world of the “dragon reptiles”: Pterosaur tracks and photogrammetric ichnology. Flugsaurier 2018: the 6th International Symposium on Pterosaurs. Los Angeles, USA. Abstracts: 19–22.
Peters D 2011. A Catalog of Pterosaur Pedes for Trackmaker Identification
Ichnos 18(2):114-141. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10420940.2011.573605
Stokes WL 1957. Pterodactyl tracks from the Morrison Formation. Journal of Paleontology, 31, 952–954.


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