Jäger et al. 2019
present a new look at the holotype of Scaphognathus and pay homage to its first describer, Goldfuß 1831. Soft tissue is hard to see in this specimen, whether in white light, UV light or using RTI/PTM (Reflectance Transformation Imaging (see below references) and Polynomial Texture Mapping) methods.
Previously I reported
plumes (pycnofibers) emanating from the dorsal region of several pterosaurs, like Jeholopterus (Fig. 5), homologous with those found in Longisquama and Cosessaurus. No one supported these observations in pterosaurs until now (Fig. 2). In fact, this is one of the reasons why workers think I am ‘seeing things’ that others cannot see. So this is confirmation not only of my own observations, but also, as noted in the text, those of Goldfuiß 1833, which have been ignored until this paper.
It would be worthwhile
to review Darren Naish’s blogpost that ridiculed my observations of dorsal plumes, now confirmed by several pterosaur specimens.
Phylogenetic bracketing indicates
that soft tissue fibers/plumes emanating from the dorsal region are present in a wide range of basal pterosaurs, up to the Early Cretaceous. Such plumes likely reduced the speed that these pterosaurs could fly, and reduced the noise they made while flying, as in similarly fluffy owls.
We looked at this Scaphognathus specimen earlier
here when the tiny foot was first discovered. That foot was overlooked by the Jäger et al. team, but I thank them for confirming, without citation, the presence of dorsal plumes in this pterosaur.
Goldfuss GA 1830. Pterodactylus crassirostris. Isis von Oken, Jena pp. 552–553.
Jäger KRK, Tischlinger H, Oleschinski G and Sander PM 2019. Goldfuß was right: Soft part preservation in the Late Jurassic pterosaur Scaphognathus crassirostris revealed by reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) and UV light and the auspicious beginnings of paleo-art. Palaeontologia Electronica: 21.3.4T
Wellnhofer P 1975a. Teil I. Die Rhamphorhynchoidea (Pterosauria) der Oberjura-Plattenkalke Süddeutschlands. Allgemeine Skelettmorphologie. Paleontographica A 148: 1-33.1975b. Teil II. Systematische Beschreibung. Paleontographica A 148: 132-186. 1975c. Teil III. Paläokolgie und Stammesgeschichte. Palaeontographica 149: 1-30.
Notes about RTI:
Bogart J 2013a. Reflectance Transformation Imaging: Guide to Highlight Image Capture. Cultural Heritage Imaging, San Francisco. http://culturalheritageimaging.org/What_We_Offer/Downloads/RTI_Hlt_Capture_Guide_v2_0.pdf
Bogart J 2013b. Reflectance Transformation Imaging: Guide to RTIViewer. Cultural Heritage Imaging, San Francisco. http://culturalheritageimaging.org/What_We_Offer/Downloads/rtiviewer/RTIViewer_Guide_v1_1.pdf