Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Darwinopterus, the remarkable transitional pterosaur

Gosh, yet another transitional form that creationists always tell us don't exist!


Image above shows Darwinopterus predating on small maniraptoran theropod

Pterosaurs - the charismatic flying archosaurs of the Mesozoic Era - fall fairly nearly into two great assemblages: the primitive, mostly long-tailed basal forms (or 'rhamphorhynchoids') and the more strongly modified, consistently short-tailed pterodactyloids...

A list of anatomical characters show that pterodactyloids are most closely related to the rhamphorhynchids (Kellner 2003, Unwin 2003) - a group of Jurassic non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs that have a relatively low number of needle-like teeth and are best known for Rhamphorhynchus from the German Solnhofen Limestone. While intermediates between rhamphorhynchids and pterodactyloids are hypothesised to have existed, they have remained unknown. Until now.

Today see the publication of a remarkable new kind of pterosaur that bridges the gap between non-pterodactyloids and pterodactyloids, and it exhibits a surprising melange of characters. Named Darwinopterus modularis LΓΌ et al., 2009, it's from the Tiaojishan Formation of Liaoning Province, China.

Follow link above for the full article.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

1 comment:

Dr. Pterosaur said...

The interesting thing about this is that it makes pterosauria paraphyletic.