Rhamphorhynchus and Pterodactylus

rhamp-pterodTwo classics here brought to us in a nice slice of palaeoart courtesy of Luis Rey. There really is not much I can say about these two which is not repeated elsewhere add infinitum (including on here). Both of course come from the extensive Solnhofen limestones of Bavaria, both are known from around 100 specimens each (at a rough count, we don’t know how many might be lurking in private collections, the numbers could be much higher), both have gone through frustrating periods of taxonomoic splitting and subsequent lumping, and both are incredibly important for our understanding of pterosaur evolution and biology. I mean, come on, if you have not worked out which genera spawned the names pterodactyloids and rhamphorhynchoids by now, you are probably reading the wrong blog.

5 Responses to “Rhamphorhynchus and Pterodactylus”


  1. 1 Zach Miller 17/04/2009 at 6:24 am

    I’ve always liked this picture.

    Hey, when did paleontologists (and paleo-artists) start giving Pterodactylus a little headcrest? I can only assume evidence of one was recently found.

  2. 2 Christopher Collinson 17/04/2009 at 10:42 am

    Oops, sorry David I meant to post this here not with the image.

    Zach, basically with the publication of this paper:

    Frey, E., Tischlinger, H., Buchy, M.-C., and Martill, D. M. 2003. New specimens of Pterosauria (Reptilia) with soft parts with implications for pterosaurian anatomy and locomotion. Pp. 233-266 in: Buffetaut, E. and Mazin, J.-M., eds. Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217. Geological Society of London.

    Which describes this specimen of Pterodactylus: http://www.pterosaurier.de/pterodactylus_sp_01_o.jpg

    If you direct your eyes to the black manganese oxide spot at the back of the skull, you’ll notice a dorsally curving conical structure extending off the back of the skull. This is called the occipital cone and forms the back of the crest. Beginning at the posterior margin of the naof you can see the remains of the medial crest, those two brown patches of skin. These are in direct contact with a row of fibers that extend along the dorsal margin of the skull to the occiput. The occipital cone was discovered back in the 70’s in another large specimen of Pterodactylus by Wellnhofer, but mostly ignored till this paper.

  3. 3 Mark Witton 17/04/2009 at 8:19 pm

    Zach, there’s a brief discussion of Pterodactylus soft-tissues at what’s been called the most amazing website on the internet, ever.

    Hope you guess my name

  4. 4 Zach Miller 18/04/2009 at 4:36 am

    Very cool! Thanks, guys.


  1. 1 Rhamphorhynchus & Pterodactylus « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 18/08/2011 at 9:03 am

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