Anhanguera piscator (meaning "fishing old devil") is a species of pterosaur known from the Early Cretaceous (Albian age, 112Ma) Santana Formation of Brazil. This pterosaur is closely related to Ornithocheirus, and belongs in the family Ornithocheiridae within its own subfamily, Anhanguerinae. A. piscator has also been classified in the genus Coloborhynchus as Coloborhynchus piscator or as a synonym of Coloborhynchus robustus.
Kellner & Tomida, 2000
Anhanguera piscator was a fish-eating animal with a wingspan of about 4.5 m (15 ft). Like many other ornithocheirids, A. piscator had a rounded crests at front of its upper and lower jaws, which were filled with angled, conical but curved teeth of various sizes and orientations. Like many of its relatives, the jaws were tapered in width, but expanded into a broad, spoon-shaped rosette at the tip. It is distinguished from its relatives by subtle differences in the crest and teeth: unlike its close relatives Coloborhynchus and Ornithocheirus, the crest on the upper jaw of Anhanguera piscator did not begin at the tip of the snout, but was set farther back on the skull, and the expanded jaw tips were slender and spoon-shaped rather than robust and box-shaped as in Coloborhynchus. Like many ornithocheiroids, (most notably the pteranodonts but also in ornithocheirids such as Ludodactylus) Anhanguera piscator had an additional crest protruding from the back of the skull. However, it was reduced to a small, blunt projection in these animals.
Paleontology or palaeontology is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 2000.Alamodactylus
Alamodactylus is an extinct genus of non-pteranodontoid pteranodontian known from the Late Cretaceous of Texas, southern United States. It contains a single species, Alamodactylus byrdi.Alexander Kellner
Alexander Wilhelm Armin Kellner (born September 26, 1961) is a Brazilian geologist and paleontologist who is a leading expert in the field of studying pterosaurs. His research has focused mainly on fossil reptiles from the Cretaceous Period, including extinct dinosaurs and crocodylomorphs.Kellner has over 500 publications to his name, has published more than 160 primary studies and two science books. He has participated in paleontological expeditions to many locations including Brazil, Chile, Iran, the United States, Argentina, China, and Antarctica.
His scientific achievements include the description of more than thirty species. For his work he has received several honors and prizes, including the TWAS Prize for Earth Sciences from The World Academy of Sciences and admission to the National Order of Scientific Merit (class Comendador), one Brazil's most prestigious awards.Anhanguera (pterosaur)
Anhanguera (meaning "old devil", Portuguese pronunciation) is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur known from the Early Cretaceous (Albian age, 112 Ma) Romualdo Formation of Brazil. This pterosaur is closely related to Ornithocheirus, and belongs in the family Ornithocheiridae within its own subfamily, Anhanguerinae.Anhanguera robustus
Anhanguera robustus is a large pterosaur species known from fossil remains dating to the Early Cretaceous Period of South America.Araripesaurus
Araripesaurus was a pterosaur, belonging to the Pterodactyloidea, from the Santana Formation of Brazil, dating from the Early Cretaceous.
The genus was named in 1971 by Brazilian paleontologist Llewellyn Ivor Price. The type species is Araripesaurus castilhoi. The genus name refers to the Araripe Plateau. The specific name honours the collector Moacir Marques de Castilho, who in 1966 donated the chalk nodule containing the fossil. The holotype, DNPM (DGM 529-R), consists of a partial wing, including distal fragments of the radius and ulna, carpals, all metacarpals and several digits. The specimen was a subadult. Its wing span was estimated at 2.2 metres. Two other possible specimens are known; both consist of wing fragments and are roughly a third larger than the holotype, and were referred to the genus by Price.
Price placed Araripesaurus in the Ornithocheiridae. Araripesaurus was the first pterosaur known from the Santana Formation. Later other species were named from more complete remains and this raised the question whether they could be identical to Araripesaurus. In 1991 researcher Alexander Kellner concluded that Araripesaurus was identical to Santanadactylus and that due to a lack of distinguishing features it could only be more generally classified as a pterodactyloid. In 2000 Kellner reassessed the genus and concluded that precisely because of such a lack of autapomorphies (unique characters), it could not be synonymised with Santanadactylus and gave its position after a cladistic analysis as close to Anhangueridae, more derived than Istiodactylus. Kellner also indicated that Araripesaurus resembled Anhanguera piscator in morphology, albeit considerably smaller.
In 1985 Peter Wellnhofer has named a second species, Araripesaurus santanae; this and two unnamed Araripesaurus sp. indicated by Wellhofer, were in 1990 by Kellner moved to Anhanguera as Anhanguera santanae.Cimoliopterus
Cimoliopterus is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Cretaceous of England, United Kingdom and Texas, United States.The type species, Cimoliopterus cuvieri, was previously considered parts of several different genera depending on author, but received its own genus in 2013.Coloborhynchus
Coloborhynchus is a genus in the pterosaur family Ornithocheiridae, and is known from the Lower Cretaceous of England (Valanginian age, 140-136 million years ago), and depending on which species are included, possibly the Albian and Cenomanian ages (113-93.9 million years ago) as well. It is the largest known toothed pterosaur.Coloborhynchus spielbergi
Coloborhynchus spielbergi is a pterosaur species from the Albian-age Romualdo Member of the Lower Cretaceous Santana Formation, of Barra do Jardim, Araripe Plateau, Ceará Province, Brazil. C. spielbergi was named after the filmmaker Steven Spielberg.Cretaceous
The Cretaceous ( , krih-TAY-shəs) is a geologic period and system that spans from the end of the Jurassic Period 145 million years ago (mya) to the beginning of the Paleogene Period 66 mya. It is the last period of the Mesozoic Era, and the longest period of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cretaceous Period is usually abbreviated K, for its German translation Kreide (chalk, creta in Latin).
The Cretaceous was a period with a relatively warm climate, resulting in high eustatic sea levels that created numerous shallow inland seas. These oceans and seas were populated with now-extinct marine reptiles, ammonites and rudists, while dinosaurs continued to dominate on land. During this time, new groups of mammals and birds, as well as flowering plants, appeared.
The Cretaceous (along with the Mesozoic) ended with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, a large mass extinction in which many groups, including non-avian dinosaurs, pterosaurs and large marine reptiles died out. The end of the Cretaceous is defined by the abrupt Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary (K–Pg boundary), a geologic signature associated with the mass extinction which lies between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.Ikrandraco
Ikrandraco ("Ikran [a flying creature from Avatar with a crest on the lower jaw] dragon") is a genus of pteranodontoid pterosaur known from Lower Cretaceous rocks in northeastern China. It is notable for its unusual skull, which features a crest on the lower jaw.Lonchodectes
Lonchodectes (meaning "lance biter") was a genus of lonchodectid pterosaur from several formations dating to the Turonian (Late Cretaceous) of England, mostly in the area around Kent. The species belonging to it had been assigned to Ornithocheirus until David Unwin's work of the 1990s and 2000s. Several potential species are known; most are based on scrappy remains, and have gone through several other generic assignments. The genus is part of the complex taxonomy issues surrounding Early Cretaceous pterosaurs from Brazil and England, such as Amblydectes, Anhanguera, Coloborhynchus, and Ornithocheirus.Ornithocheirus
Ornithocheirus (from Ancient Greek "ὄρνις", meaning bird, and "χεῖρ", meaning hand) is a pterosaur genus known from fragmentary fossil remains uncovered from sediments in the UK.
Several species have been referred to the genus, most of which are now considered as dubious species, or members of different genera, and the genus is now often considered to include only the type species, Ornithocheirus simus. Species have been referred to Ornithocheirus from the mid-Cretaceous period of both Europe and South America, but O. simus is known only from the UK. Because O. simus was originally named based on poorly preserved fossil material, the genus Ornithocheirus has suffered enduring problems of zoological nomenclature.
Fossil remains of Ornithocheirus have been recovered mainly from the Cambridge Greensand of England, dating to the beginning of the Albian stage of the early Cretaceous period, about 110 million years ago. Additional fossils from the Santana Formation of Brazil are sometimes classified as species of Ornithocheirus, but have also been placed in their own genera, most notably Tropeognathus.Phylogeny of pterosaurs
This phylogeny of pterosaurs entails the various phylogenetic trees used to classify pterosaurs throughout the years and varying views of these animals. Pterosaur phylogeny is currently highly contested and several hypotheses are presented below.Timeline of pterosaur research
This timeline of pterosaur research is a chronologically ordered list of important fossil discoveries, controversies of interpretation, and taxonomic revisions of pterosaurs, the famed flying reptiles of the Mesozoic era. Although pterosaurs went extinct millions of years before humans evolved, humans have coexisted with pterosaur fossils for millennia. Before the development of paleontology as a formal science, these remains would have been interpreted through a mythological lens. Myths about thunderbirds told by the Native Americans of the modern western United States may have been influenced by observations of Pteranodon fossils. These thunderbirds were said to have warred with water monsters, which agrees well with the co-occurrence of Pteranodon and the ancient marine reptiles of the seaway over which it flew.The formal study of pterosaurs began in the late 18th century when naturalist Cosimo Alessandro Collini of Mannheim, Germany published a description of an unusual animal with long arms, each bearing an elongated finger. He recognized that this long finger could support a membrane like that of a bat wing, but because the unnamed creature was found in deposits that preserve marine life he concluded that these strange arms were used as flippers. The creature was restudied again in the very early 19th century by French anatomist Georges Cuvier, who recognized both that the creature was a reptile and that its "flippers" were wings. He called the creature the Ptero-dactyle, a name since revised to Pterodactylus.Although Cuvier's interpretation later became the consensus, it was just one of many early interpretations of the creature and its relatives, including that they were bats, strange birds, or the primordial handiwork of Satan himself. Similar animals like the long-tailed Rhamphorhynchus and Gnathosaurus were soon discovered around Europe and it became obvious that earth was once home to a diverse group of flying reptiles. The British anatomist Sir Richard Owen dubbed this vanished order the Pterosauria. Soon after, he described Britain's own first pterosaur, Dimorphodon. Later in the 19th century pterosaurs were discovered in North America as well, the first of which was a spectacular animal named Pteranodon by paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh.Various aspects of pterosaur biology invited controversy from the beginning. Samuel Thomas von Soemmering ignited a multi-century debate over how pterosaurs walked on the ground by suggesting they crawled on all fours like bats. August Quenstedt, by contrast, argued that they walked on their hind limbs. In the early 20th century, Hankin and Watson in the first major study of pterosaur flight biomechanics concluded that on the ground these reptiles were altogether helpless and could only scoot along on their stomachs like penguins. The debate gained steam in 1957 when William Stokes reported unusual tracks left by a four-footed animal he suspected was a pterosaur walking along the ground. In 1984, Kevin Padian, who had recently argued that pterosaurs walked on their hind legs, dismissed Stokes's tracks as those of a crocodilian. However, in the mid-1990s, Jean-Michel Mazin and others reported that fossil footprints in Crayssac, France were similar to those reported by Stokes from the US. Mazin's tracks were more obviously pterosaurian in origin and settled the debate in favor of pterosaurs walking on all fours.Pterosaur paleontology continues to progress into the 21st century. In fact, according to David Hone the early 21st century has seen more progress in pterosaur paleontology than in "the preceding two centuries" combined. He compared this transformative period in pterosaur paleontology to the Dinosaur Renaissance of the 1970s. He also observed that roughly one-third of known pterosaurs were discovered during this brief interval. One of the most notable of these was Darwinopterus, whose body resembled the more primitive long-tailed "rhamphorynchoids", while its skull resembled those of the more advanced short-tailed pterodactyloids. These traits establish the species as an important transitional form, documenting one of the most important phases of pterosaur evolution. Another important new species is Faxinalipterus minima, which might well be the world's oldest pterosaur. The first confirmed pterosaur eggs were also reported from China during the early 21st century.Tropeognathus
Tropeognathus is a genus of large pterosaurs from the late Early Cretaceous of South America. It was a member of the Ornithocheiridae (alternately Anhangueridae), a group of pterosaurs known for their keel-tipped snouts, and was closely related to species of the genus Anhanguera. The type and only species is Tropeognathus mesembrinus; a second species, Tropeognathus robustus, is now considered to belong to Anhanguera. Fossils of Tropeognathus have been recovered from the fossiliferous Romualdo Formation of the Araripe Basin in northeastern Brazil.