Preondactylus

Preondactylus is a genus of long-tailed pterosaurs from the Late Triassic (late Carnian or early Norian age, about 228 million years ago[1]) that inhabited what is now Italy. It contains a single known species, Preondactylus buffarinii, which was discovered by Nando Buffarini in 1982 at the Forni Dolostone near Udine in the Preone valley of the Italian Alps.[2]

Preondactylus
Temporal range: Late Triassic, 228 Ma
Preondactylus
Skeletal restoration
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Clade: Preondactylia
Genus: Preondactylus
Wild, 1983
Species:
P. bufarinii
Binomial name
Preondactylus bufarinii
Wild, 1983

Description

Preondactylus NT
Restoration

Preondactylus had single cusp teeth, meaning they had one point on each tooth.[2] Its diet either consisted of fish, insects or both, but there is still debate going on as the tooth structure could indicate either diet (or both). It had short wings, whose total span was only 45 cm (18 in), and relatively long legs. The short wings were a "primitive" feature for pterosaurs, but Preondactylus was a fully developed flier.

Discovery

Preondactylus
Fossil wing bones

When Buffarini first discovered Preondactylus, the thin slab of bituminous, dolomitic limestone containing the fossil was accidentally broken into pieces while being extracted. After reassembly the rock was cleaned with water by him and his wife and the marl and in it the bone was washed away and lost. All that was left was a negative imprint on the stone, of which a silicon rubber cast was made to allow for subsequent study of the otherwise lost remains. Most of the skeleton is known, but the posterior portions of the skull have not been preserved.[2] This first specimen is the holotype: MFSN-1770.

A second, disarticulated specimen, MFSN-1891, was found at the same locale in 1984 about 150–200 meters (490–650 ft) deeper into the strata than the original find. The second specimen appears to have been preserved in the gastric pellet of a predatory fish, which had consumed the pterosaur and vomited up the indigestible pieces that would later fossilize.[2] More detailed knowledge of the variability of Triassic pterosaurs has made the identification of this specimen as Preondactylus uncertain.

A third specimen is MFSN 25161, a partial skull, lacking the lower jaws.

Phylogeny

The species was described and named by Rupert Wild in 1984. The genus name refers to Preone, the specific name honours Buffarini. Rupert classified the new species within Rhamphorhynchidae, of which group very old species are known such as Dorygnathus, but soon it was understood the form was much more basal. A cladistic analysis by David Unwin found Preondactylus as the most basal pterosaur, and the species was accordingly used by him for a node clade definition of the clade Pterosauria. Other analyses however, have found a somewhat more derived position for Preondactylus.

Preondactylus cast
Fossil cast

The following phylogenetic analysis follows the topology of Upchurch et al. (2015).[3]

Eopterosauria

Preondactylus buffarinii

Austriadactylus cristatus

Peteinosaurus zambellii

Eudimorphodontidae
Raeticodactylinae

Raeticodactylus filisurensis

Caviramus schesaplanensis

Eudimorphodontinae

Arcticodactylus cromptonellus

Carniadactylus rosenfeldi

Eudimorphodon ranzii

See also

References

  1. ^ Barrett, P. M., Butler, R. J., Edwards, N. P., & Milner, A. R. (2008). Pterosaur distribution in time and space: an atlas. Zitteliana, 61-107. [1]
  2. ^ a b c d "Preondactylus." In: Cranfield, Ingrid (ed.). The Illustrated Directory of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures. London: Salamander Books, Ltd. Pp. 284-285.
  3. ^ Upchurch, P.; Andres, B.B.; Butler, R.J.; Barrett, P.M. (2015). "An analysis of pterosaurian biogeography: implications for the evolutionary history and fossil record quality of the first flying vertebrates". Historical Biology. 27 (6): 697–717. doi:10.1080/08912963.2014.939077. PMC 4536946.

Literature

  • Wild, R., 1984, "A new pterosaur (Reptilia, Pterosauria) from the Upper Triassic (Norien) of Friuli, Italy", Gortiana — Atti Museo Friuliano di Storia Naturale, 5, 45-62
  • Dalla Vecchia, F.M., Muscio, G., Wild, R., 1989, "Pterosaur remains in a gastric pellet from the Upper Triassic (Norian) of Rio Seazza Valley (Udine, Italy)", Gortiana — Atti Museo Friuliano di Storia Naturale, 10 (1988), 121-132
  • Dalla Vecchia F.M., 1998, "New observations on the osteology and taxonomic status of Preondactylus buffarinii Wild, 1984 (Reptilia, Pterosauria)", Boll. Soc. Paleont. It., 36(3, 1997): 355-366
  • Fabio M. Dalla Vecchia, 2003, "A Review of the Triassic Pterosaur Record", Riv. Mus. Civ. Sc. Nat. “E. Caffi” Bergamo, 22 (2003), pp. 13–29
Arcticodactylus

Arcticodactylus is a genus of basal pterosaur living during the Late Triassic in the area of present Greenland. Its only species was previously attributed to Eudimorphodon, and its closest relatives may have been Eudimorphodon or Austriadraco.

Averostra

Averostra, or "bird snouts", is a clade that includes most theropod dinosaurs that have a promaxillary fenestra (fenestra promaxillaris), an extra opening in the front outer side of the maxilla, the bone that makes up the upper jaw. Two groups of averostrans, the Ceratosauria and the Orionides, survived into the Cretaceous period. When the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event occurred, ceratosaurians and two groups of orionideans within the clade Coelurosauria, the Tyrannosauroidea and Maniraptoriformes, were still extant. Only one subgroup of maniraptoriformes, Aves, survived the extinction event and persisted to the present day.

Avetheropoda

Avetheropoda, or "bird theropods", is a clade that includes carnosaurians and coelurosaurs to the exclusion of other dinosaurs.

Caelestiventus

Caelestiventus ( sə-LES-tih-VEN-təs, meaning "heavenly wind") is a pterosaur genus from the Late Triassic (Norian or Rhaetian) found in western North America. The type species, Caelestiventus hanseni, honors Robin Hansen, the Bureau of Land Management geologist (BLM), who facilitated access to the excavation site.

Caelestiventus is important because it is the sole example of a desert-dwelling non-pterodactyloid pterosaur and is 65 million years older than other known desert-dwelling pterosaurs. Additionally, it shows that even the earliest pterosaurs were morphologically and ecologically diverse and that the Dimorphodontidae originated in the Triassic Period.

Carniadactylus

Carniadactylus is a genus of pterosaur which existed in Europe during the Late Triassic period (late Carnian or early Norian, about 228 million years ago). The genus contains a single species, Carniadactylus rosenfeldi.

Caviramus

Caviramus is a genus of "rhamphorhynchoid" pterosaur from the Late Triassic (late Norian-early Rhaetian-age) lower Kössen Formation of the Northern Calcareous Alps of Switzerland.

The genus was in 2006 named by Nadia Fröbisch and Jörg Fröbisch. The type species is Caviramus schesaplanensis. The genus name is derived from Latin cavus, "hollow" and ramus, "branch". The specific name refers to Mount Schesaplana.

Cerapoda

Cerapoda ("ceratopsians and ornithopods") is a clade of the dinosaur order Ornithischia.

Dimorphodon

Dimorphodon was a genus of medium-sized pterosaur from the early Jurassic Period. It was named by paleontologist Richard Owen in 1859. Dimorphodon means "two-form tooth", derived from the Greek δι (di) meaning "two", μορφη (morphe) meaning "shape" and οδων (odon) meaning "tooth", referring to the fact that it had two distinct types of teeth in its jaws – which is comparatively rare among reptiles.

Dinosauriformes

Dinosauriformes is a clade of archosaurian reptiles that include the dinosaurs and their most immediate relatives. All dinosauriformes are distinguished by several features, such as shortened forelimbs and a partially to fully perforated acetabulum, the hole in the hip socket traditionally used to define dinosaurs. The oldest known member is Asilisaurus, dating to about 245 million years ago in the Anisian age of the middle Triassic period.

Eopterosauria

Eopterosauria is a group of basal pterosaurs from the Triassic, which form their own clade. The term was first used in Andres et al. (2014) to include Preondactylus, Austriadactylus, Peteinosaurus and Eudimorphodontidae. Inside the group were two other new clades, Preondactylia, which included Preondactylus and Austriadactylus, and Eudimorphodontoidea, to include Eudimorphodontidae and Raeticodactylidae. Eopterosauria was defined as "the least inclusive clade containing Preondactylus buffarinii and Eudimorphodon ranzii". The specimen BSP 1994, previously assigned to Eudimorphodon, was named the separate taxon Austriadraco in 2015, and assigned to the new family Austriadraconidae, but further classification was not described. The following phylogenetic analysis follows the topology of Andres et al. (2014).

Eudimorphodon

Eudimorphodon was a pterosaur that was discovered in 1973 by Mario Pandolfi in the town of Cene, Italy and described the same year by Rocco Zambelli. The nearly complete skeleton was retrieved from shale deposited during the Late Triassic (mid to late Norian stage), making Eudimorphodon one of the oldest pterosaurs known. It had a wingspan of about 100 centimetres (3.3 ft) and at the end of its long bony tail may have been a diamond-shaped flap like in the later Rhamphorhynchus. If so, the flap may have helped it steer while maneuvering in the air. Eudimorphodon is known from several skeletons, including juvenile specimens.

Eudimorphodontidae

Eudimorphodontidae is an extinct family of early pterosaurs from the Late Triassic (early Norian to Rhaetian age) of Europe. It was named by Peter Wellnhofer in 1978 to include Eudimorphodon ranzii. Some phylogenetic analyses suggested that Eudimorphodontidae is a junior synonym of Campylognathoididae, however more comprehensive analyses found Eudimorphodontidae to be basal to Macronychoptera that includes Campylognathoididae and more derived pterosaurs (Breviquartossa). Wang et al. (2009) found Eudimorphodontidae to include six species (the monospecific Peteinosaurus, Raeticodactylus and Caviramus, and three species of Eudimorphodon), but they didn't defined the clade. Brian Andres (2010, in press) define Eudimorphodontidae and found Peteinosaurus to be most closely related to it. Furthermore, he found monophyletic Eudimorphodon clade (unlike Wang et al., 2009 and Dalla Vecchia, 2009), and defined two subfamilies within Eudimorphodontidae. The Eudimorphodontinae includes all taxa more closely related to Eudimorphodon ranzii than to Raeticodactylus filisurensis while the Raeticodactylinae includes all taxa more closely related to Raeticodactylus filisurensis than to Eudimorphodon ranzii. More recently, Raeticodactylus and Caviramus were moved into their own family, Raeticodactylidae. The below cladogram follows that analysis.

Jingshanosaurus

Jingshanosaurus (meaning "Jingshan lizard") is a genus of sauropodomorph dinosaurs from the early Jurassic period.

Norian

The Norian is a division of the Triassic geological period. It has the rank of an age (geochronology) or stage (chronostratigraphy). The Norian lasted from ~227 to 208.5 million years ago. It was preceded by the Carnian and succeeded by the Rhaetian.

Orionides

Orionides is a clade of tetanuran theropod dinosaurs from the Middle Jurassic to the Present. The clade includes most theropod dinosaurs, including birds.

Peteinosaurus

Peteinosaurus ( peh-TY-nə-SOR-əs; meaning "winged lizard") was a prehistoric genus of Pterosaur. It lived in the late Triassic period in the late Norian age (about 221 to 210 million years ago), and at a wingspan of around 60 cm (24 in), was one of the smallest and earliest Pterosaurs.

Raeticodactylidae

Raeticodactylidae is a family of eudimorphodontoid eopterosaurian pterosaurs that lived in Switzerland during the Late Triassic. The family includes Caviramus, and the type genus Raeticodactylus, which are both known from the Kössen Formation, around 205 mya. Raeticodactylidae was first used in 2014 by Andres et al., as a group of all pterosaurs closer to Raeticodactylus than Eudimorphodon. The following phylogenetic analysis follows the topology of Andres et al. (2014).

Raeticodactylus

Raeticodactylus is a genus of non-pterodactyloid pterosaur from the late Norian-early Rhaetian-age Upper Triassic lower Kössen Formation of the central Austroalpine of Grisons, Switzerland. It is known from holotype BNM 14524, a single disarticulated partial skeleton including an almost complete skull, found in August 2005. This genus was named and described in 2008 by its discoverer Rico Stecher; the type species is Raeticodactylus filisurensis. The specific name refers to Filisur.

Zorzino Limestone

The Zorzino Limestone, also known as the Calcare di Zorzino is a geological formation in Europe.

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