Surely this can’t be serious? Yeah you wait years for a paper about pterosaurs being munched on by other vertebrates and then two come along at once. A paper? What is it?
In this case it’s an online publication, which is nice (PLOS again so freely available, reference and link below). This time it’s from (very) occasional Pterosaur.net contributors Helmut Tischlinger and Dino Frey. It seems the large Solnhofen fish Aspidorhynchus may have had a thing for pterosaurs.
While other specimens are apparently known of a similar interaction, a new specimen has come to light showing individuals of each species being intimately linked. Nope, it’s not that Rhamphorhynchus had a drinking problem so much as it got grabbed and dragged under by the fish. Too big to eat and with its wing membranes stuck in the teeth of the fish, the two were locked together. Drifting into the anoxic zone of Solnhofen lagoons (little use for loading or unloading there) would have killed them both, still locked together (and is also how you get things like this).
Interestingly, while Aspidorhynchus had tried to have ‘chicken’ for dinner, the flying pterosaur had had fish (incidentally I had lasagna). There’s a fish in the throat of the pterosaur, suggesting it had only just caught one at the surface of the water when it was snagged by the bigger fish below.
Right, I’ve got to go take a call on my white phone to do an interview about Microraptor colours, and it’s not a big pretty white one with a red stripe down the side.
Images for this post kindly provided by Helmut Tischlinger.