The Aathal specimen enters the LPT at the base of the Tapejaridae

Updated November 18, 2020
with the realization that this is not Sinopterus jii, as previously noted. I believed an online image that labeled it such and did not reference earlier comments. Apologies for the confusion.

Earlier I found this image of a sinopterid with broken wings
as I sought the specimen number in order to nest it in the large pterosaur tree (LPT, 253+ taxa). A kind reader (TG) replied it was from the Sauriermuseusm in Aathal, Germany.  Today it enters the LPT.

Figure 1. Sinopterus jii in situ. Note the broken arms.

Figure 1. Sinopterus jii in situ. Note the broken arms.

Reconstructions of the body and skull
enabled scoring of the Aathal specimen as it nested basal to tapejarids. Two Sinopterus specimens nested basal to the tupuxuarids. Outgroups include other China pterosaurs in the Dsungaripteridae and Shenzoupteridae.

Figure 1. The Sauriermuseum Aathal specimen. Scale remains unknown.

Figure 1. The Sauriermuseum Aathal specimen. Scale remains unknown.

Figure 3. Sauriermuseum Aathal skull in situ and reconstructed.

Figure 3. Sauriermuseum Aathal skull in situ and reconstructed.

The frontal + parietal crest on the Aathal specimen
is distinctive and points to a wider variation than typically imagined for this genus.

Phylogenetic Note
The antorbital fenestra is not taller than the orbit in the Aathal specimen (Fig. 3). Traditional phylogenies link azhdarchids with tapejarids in an invalid clade ‘Azhdarchoidea‘. The LPT has never supported this clade (also see Peters 2007), which is based on one character: an antorbital fenestra taller than the orbit. Pterosaur workers have been “Pulling a Larry Martin” by counting on this one character and by excluding pertinent taxa that would have shown them this is a convergent trait ever since the first cladograms appeared in Kellner 2003 and Unwin 2003.

Figure 4. Click to enlarge. The Tapejaridae arise from dsungaripterids and germanodactylids.

Figure 4. Click to enlarge. The Tapejaridae arise from dsungaripterids and germanodactylids.

Small pterosaurs are usually small adult pterosaurs, 
not juveniles, contra traditional thinking. There are a few notable exceptions herehere and here.


References
Kellner AWA 2003. Pterosaur phylogeny and comments on the evolutionary history of the group. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 105-137.
Lü J and Yuan C 2005. 
New tapejarid pterosaur from Western Liaoning, China. Acta Geologica Sinica. 79 (4): 453–458.
Peters D 2007. The origin and radiation of the Pterosauria. In D. Hone ed. Flugsaurier. The Wellnhofer pterosaur meeting, 2007, Munich, Germany. p. 27.
Unwin DM 2003. On the phylogeny and evolutionary history of pterosaurs. Pp. 139-190. in Buffetaut, E. & Mazin, J.-M., (eds.) (2003). Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society of London, Special Publications 217, London, 1-347.

wiki/Sinopterus

5 thoughts on “The Aathal specimen enters the LPT at the base of the Tapejaridae

  1. Dave, this is not GMN 03-11-001, this is the Sauriermuseum Aathal specimen as I noted in your previous post. Did you read Lü & Yuan (2005) or just reference it secondhand? This is a photo of GMN 03-11-001 from Lü & Yuan (2005), very clearly not the same as the SMA specimen:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.