A nice Nyctosaurus

I say ‘nice’, but actually this is really good. Nyctosaurus material is rather few and far between and this is certainly one of the better specimens. I’ve mentioned nyctosaurs a couple of times before and even among pterosaurs they are rather strange beasts, not least for having lost digits 1-3. The Carnegie actually has some nice pterosaur material on display (always a good thing) and having overloaded the Musings with various parts of their dinosaur exhibits, it seemed a good time to get back to some (more) of their pterosaur-y goodness.

As you can see this specimen is largely in 3D (unlike much other stuff from these beds) and the skull, while bashed up, is especially nice. Other things like the legs and wrists are rather more informative than you might expect too. One thing worth noting is that this specimen was mentioned specifically by Chris Bennett as very likely *not* having a massive head-crest. It seems not all Nyctosaurus bore the ‘antler’.

4 Responses to “A nice Nyctosaurus”


  1. 1 Robert A. Sloan 21/11/2011 at 8:52 am

    Wow, that is a beauty! Point for gendered head crests on that.

  2. 2 Zhen 22/11/2011 at 3:15 pm

    Could the “antler” have broke off? Or maybe I’m just over thinking it.

    • 3 David Hone 22/11/2011 at 4:33 pm

      Could have done, but Chris specifically says there’s no evidence of loss, merely a nub at the back of the skull. This appears to be an alternate form. This specimen looks, to me, like a sub-adult, and while crests like this probably grew rapidly it does seem extremely unlikely they could go from zero to colossal in a year or so. Certainly other crested pterosaurs seem to start acquiring their crests before adulthood, so it would seem logical here and thus the absence at this stage suggests it was never going to get one.


  1. 1 Archosaur Musings 2011 roundup « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 29/12/2011 at 8:29 am

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