Small ancestor of dinosaurs and pterosaurs discovered


Life restoration of Kongonaphon kely, a newly described reptile near the ancestry of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, in what would have been its natural environment in the Triassic (~237 million years ago). © Alex Boersma

From the American Museum of Natural History in the USA:

A tiny ancient relative of dinosaurs and pterosaurs discovered

New study suggests a miniaturized origin for some of the largest animals ever to live on Earth

July 6, 2020

Dinosaurs and flying pterosaurs may be known for their remarkable size, but a newly described species from Madagascar that lived around 237 million years ago suggests that they originated from extremely small ancestors. The fossil reptile, named Kongonaphon kely, or “tiny bug slayer”, would have stood just 10 centimeters (or about 4 inches) tall. The description and analysis of this fossil and its relatives, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help explain the origins of flight in pterosaurs, the presence of “fuzz” on the skin of both pterosaurs and dinosaurs, and other questions about these charismatic animals.

“There’s a general perception of dinosaurs as being giants,” said Christian Kammerer, a research curator in paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a former Gerstner Scholar at the American Museum of Natural History. “But this new animal is very close to the divergence of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, and it’s shockingly small.”

Dinosaurs and pterosaurs both belong to the group Ornithodira. Their origins, however, are poorly known, as few specimens from near the root of this lineage have been found. The fossils of Kongonaphon were discovered in 1998 in Madagascar by a team of researchers led by American Museum of Natural History Frick Curator of Fossil Mammals John Flynn (who worked at The Field Museum at the time) in close collaboration with scientists and students at the University of Antananarivo, and project co-leader Andre Wyss, chair and professor of the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Department of Earth Science and an American Museum of Natural History research associate.

“This fossil site in southwestern Madagascar from a poorly known time interval globally has produced some amazing fossils, and this tiny specimen was jumbled in among the hundreds we’ve collected from the site over the years,” Flynn said. “It took some time before we could focus on these bones, but once we did, it was clear we had something unique and worth a closer look. This is a great case for why field discoveries — combined with modern technology to analyze the fossils recovered — is still so important.”

“Discovery of this tiny relative of dinosaurs and pterosaurs emphasizes the importance of Madagascar’s fossil record for improving knowledge of vertebrate history during times that are poorly known in other places,” said project co-leader Lovasoa Ranivoharimanana, professor and director of the vertebrate paleontology laboratory at the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar. “Over two decades, our collaborative Madagascar-U.S. teams have trained many Malagasy students in paleontological sciences, and discoveries like this helps people in Madagascar and around the world better appreciate the exceptional record of ancient life preserved in the rocks of our country.”

Kongonaphon isn’t the first small animal known near the root of the ornithodiran family tree, but previously, such specimens were considered “isolated exceptions to the rule,” Kammerer noted. In general, the scientific thought was that body size remained similar among the first archosaurs — the larger reptile group that includes birds, crocodilians, non-avian dinosaurs, and pterosaurs — and the earliest ornithodirans, before increasing to gigantic proportions in the dinosaur lineage.

“Recent discoveries like Kongonaphon have given us a much better understanding of the early evolution of ornithodirans. Analyzing changes in body size throughout archosaur evolution, we found compelling evidence that it decreased sharply early in the history of the dinosaur-pterosaur lineage,” Kammerer said.

This “miniaturization” event indicates that the dinosaur and pterosaur lineages originated from extremely small ancestors yielding important implications for their paleobiology. For instance, wear on the teeth of Kongonaphon suggests it ate insects. A shift to insectivory, which is associated with small body size, may have helped early ornithodirans survive by occupying a niche different from their mostly meat-eating contemporaneous relatives.

The work also suggests that fuzzy skin coverings ranging from simple filaments to feathers, known on both the dinosaur and pterosaur sides of the ornithodiran tree, may have originated for thermoregulation in this small-bodied common ancestor. That’s because heat retention in small bodies is difficult, and the mid-late Triassic was a time of climatic extremes, inferred to have sharp shifts in temperature between hot days and cold nights.

Sterling Nesbitt, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech and a Museum research associate and expert in ornithodiran anatomy, phylogeny, and histological age analyses, is also an author on this study.

This study was supported, in part, by the National Geographic Society, a Gerstner Scholars Fellowship from the Gerstner Family Foundation and the Richard Gilder Graduate School, the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, and a Meeker Family Fellowship from the Field Museum, with additional support from the Ministry of Energy and Mines of Madagascar, the World Wide Fund for Nature (Madagascar), University of Antananarivo, and MICET/ICTE (Madagascar).

Unique pterodactyl fossil discovery in England


This 2015 video says about itself:

Tapejaridae” are a family of pterodactyloid pterosaurs from the early Cretaceous period. Members are currently known from Brazil, Morocco, Spain and China, where the most primitive genera are found, indicating that the family has an Asian origin.

From the University of Portsmouth in England:

Chinese pterodactyl wings its way to the United Kingdom

May 28, 2020

The first-ever specimen of a pterodactyl, more commonly found in China and Brazil, has been found in the United Kingdom.

A fossil hunter recently discovered a peculiar shaped fragment of fossil bone while out walking his dog in Sandown Bay on the Isle of Wight.

Not sure what it was, he passed it to University of Portsmouth Palaeontology student Megan Jacobs, who thought it might be the jaw bone from a pterodactyl. Further research proved she was right.

However, this was no ordinary pterodactyl jaw. This one lacked teeth and was remarkably similar to a bizarre group of pterosaurs called ‘tapejarids‘. They are better known from China and Brazil and have never previously been found in the UK.

Just last year a team from the University of Portsmouth discovered as similar specimen in North Africa (Morocco) which they named Afrotapejara.

The new specimen from the Isle of Wight has been named Wightia declivirostris.

Megan Jacobs said: “Although only a fragment of jaw, it has all the characteristic of a tapejarid jaw, including numerous tiny little holes that held minute sensory organs for detecting their food, and a downturned, finely pointed beak.

“Complete examples from Brazil and China show that they had large head crests, with the crest sometime being twice as big as the skull. The crests were probably used in sexual display and may have been brightly coloured.”

The researchers determined that the Isle of Wight example seemed more closely related to the Chinese tapejarids rather than the Brazilian examples.

Co-author of the study Professor David Martill, a palaeontologist from the University of Portsmouth, said: “This new species adds to the diversity of dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles found on the Island, which is now one of the most important places for Cretaceous dinosaurs in the world.”

The finder has kindly donated the specimen to Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown, where it is hoped it will go on display in the future.

Pterosaurs and airplanes, new research


This 2014 video says about itself:

How Were Pterosaurs Adapted for Flight?

Pterosaurs were the first animals after insects to evolve powered flight—not just leaping or gliding, but flapping their wings to generate lift and travel through the air. They evolved into dozens of species: Some were as large as an F-16 fighter jet, and others as small as a paper airplane.

Pterosaurs flew with their forelimbs: Their long, tapering wings evolved from the same body part as our arms. As pterosaurs’ arm and hand bones evolved for flying, they lengthened, and the bones of one finger—the equivalent of our ring finger—became extraordinarily long. Like the mast on a ship, these bones supported the wing surface, a thin flap of skin that was shaped like a sail.

Although many animals can glide through the air, pterosaurs, birds and bats are the only vertebrates that have evolved to fly by flapping their wings. All three groups descended from animals that lived on the ground, and their wings evolved in a similar way: their forelimbs gradually became long, bladelike and aerodynamic.

Although they have much in common, pterosaurs, birds and bats developed the ability to fly independently. Their wings evolved along different paths, and the difference can be seen in their structure.

From ScienceDaily:

Pterosaurs and other fossil flyers to better engineer human-made flight

April 15, 2020

Pterosaurs were the largest animals ever to fly. They soared the skies for 160 million years — much longer than any species of modern bird. Despite their aeronautic excellence, these ancient flyers have largely been overlooked in the pursuit of bioinspired flight technologies. In a review published April 15 in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution researchers outline why and how the physiology of fossil flyers could provide ancient solutions to modern flight problems, such as aerial stability and the ability of drones to self-launch.

“There’s a lot of really cool stuff in the fossil record that goes unexplored because engineers generally don’t look to paleontology when thinking about inspiration for flight,” says first author Liz Martin-Silverstone (@gimpasaura), a post-doctoral researcher and paleontologist at the University of Bristol. “If we’re only looking at modern animals for inspiration, we’re really missing a large degree of the morphology out there and ignoring a lot of options that I think could be useful.”

Previously, engineers have largely focused on the physiology of modern birds and insects when designing aeronautic technology like drones and planes; they might not think to examine fossils that — by their nature — are often incomplete. However, Martin-Silverstone says there are a select few pterosaur fossils that provide extraordinarily deep insight into the anatomy of their wings, which is essential for understanding their flight capabilities.

“There are two or three absolutely amazingly preserved pterosaur fossils that let you see the different layers within the wing membrane, giving us insight into its fibrous components. Also, some fossils are preserved enough to show the wing attachments beneath the hip,” she says. “While you don’t know exactly the shape of the wing, by knowing the membrane attachments you can model the effectiveness of different wing shapes and determine which would have performed best in natural conditions.” Analyzing the morphology and predicted flight mechanics of these ancient creatures has revealed novel tactics that don’t exist in modern flyers.

Becoming airborne is one example. Launching into the air through a leap or jump, also known as ballistic launch, is standard throughout the animal kingdom. However, larger birds require a running start to gain enough momentum for lift-off. Pterosaurs, on the other hand, may have developed a method to launch from a stationary position despite some specimens weighing nearly 300 kilograms. One hypothesis, proposed by review co-author Mike Habib (@aeroevo) of the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, suggests that the wing membrane and the robust muscle attachments in the wings allowed pterosaurs to generate a high-powered leap off of their elbows and wrists, giving them enough height to become airborne.

“Today, something like a drone requires a flat surface to launch and is quite restricted on how it actually gets into the air. The unique launch physiology of pterosaurs might be able to help solve some of these problems,” Martin-Silverstone says.

Pterosaurs can also provide insights on how to prevent flight instability once in the air. Contrary to how sails can become unstable in a strong wind, pterosaurs evolved strategies to resist flutter of their broad wings. “So far we’ve struggled to design things like flight suits that can resist the pressures of flight. If we can understand how pterosaurs did it, for instance by understanding how their wing membrane was actually structured, then that’s something we can use to answer modern engineering questions,” she says.

These unique physiological elements aren’t limited to pterosaurs, either. Other ancient flyers, like Microraptor, had feathered wings on both their arms and legs, while newly discovered dinosaur, Yi qi, had wings that combine feathers with a bat-like membrane — a body plan that has never been repeated since their extinction. As such, the authors say many flight strategies remain to be properly explored.

Martin-Silverstone suggests that if we combine our knowledge from flyers both living and extinct, we will have a much better chance of overcoming the hurdles still hindering human-made flight. She says: “We want biologists and engineers alike to reach out to paleontologists when they are looking to solving flight problems, as there might be something extinct that could help. If we limit ourselves to looking at the modern animals, then we’re missing out on a lot of diversity that might be useful.”

New Moroccan pterosaur species discovery, again


This 2012 video says about itself:

Reptiles of the Skies | Walking with Dinosaurs in HQ | BBC

The Cretaceous period saw the breaking up of the northern and southern landmasses. Flying dinosaurs like Tapejara would master the air and the new coastlines of prehistoric Earth. The largest flying dinosaur Ornithocheirus prepares for a long flight to breeding grounds.

Broadcast in 1999, Walking with Dinosaurs set out to create the most accurate portrayal of prehistoric animals ever seen on the screen. Combining fact and informed speculation with cutting-edge computer graphics and animatronics effects, the series took two years to make.

Pterosaurs were not ‘flying dinosaurs’, though related to dinosaurs.

From the University of Portsmouth in England:

Fourth new pterosaur discovery in matter of weeks

April 2, 2020

You wait ages for a pterosaur and then four come along at once.

Hot on the heels of a recent paper discovering three new species of pterosaur, University of Portsmouth palaeobiologists have identified another new species — the first of its kind to be found on African soil.

Pterosaurs are the less well-known cousins of dinosaurs. They had adept flying ability — some as large as a fighter jet and others as small as a model aeroplane.

The new species belongs to a group of pterosaurs called tapejarids from the Cretaceous period. Tapejarids were small to medium-sized pterosaurs with wingspans perhaps as wide as four metres, most of which had large, broad crests sweeping up from the front of the skull.

They are well known in Brazil and China, and specimens have also been discovered in Europe, but this is the first time the flying reptile has been found in Africa.

It differs from the three recent species discovered as this one had no teeth — it was ‘edentulous’.

Professor David Martill, from the University’s School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, led the study. He said: “The study of Moroccan material shows that we are still far from having found all the paleontological treasures of North Africa. Even fragmentary fossils, like the jaw piece of the new pterosaur, can give us important information about the biodiversity of the past.”

PhD student Roy Smith, one of the co-authors, said: “I feel very privileged to be part of such an exciting discovery. Working in the Sahara was a life-changing experience, and discovering a new species of pterosaur is the icing on the cake.”

The new pterosaur has been named Afrotapejara zouhrii to honour the Moroccan palaeontologist Professor Samir Zouhri. Originally a mammal specialist, Zouhri also contributed to several discoveries of prehistoric reptiles in Morocco, including dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

Professor Martill said: “The opportunity to illuminate the diversity of pterosaurs in Africa while honouring a colleague does not happen every day.”

The research team included Dr David Unwin from the University of Leicester and Dr Nizar Ibrahim from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Palaeontologist Dr Ibrahim, said: “Samir Zouhri has played an important role in the development of Moroccan palaeontology, not only through his publications, but also because he organised scientific conferences in Morocco and edited an entire volume for the Geological Society of France on the subject of vertebrate palaeontology in Morocco.”

The fossil material is part of the collections of the Faculty of Sciences Aïn Chock, Casablanca Hassan II University and the paper was published in Cretaceous Research.

Cretaceous pterosaurs discovery in Morocco


This October 2018 video is called Pterosaurs 101 | National Geographic.

From Baylor University in the USA:

Fossil finds give clues about flying reptiles in the Sahara 100 million years ago

Fish-eating pterosaurs with wingspans of up to 13 feet soared and snatched prey

March 25, 2020

Three new species of toothed pterosaurs — flying reptiles of the Cretaceous period, some 100 million years ago — have been identified in Africa by an international team of scientists led by Baylor University.

The pterosaurs, which soared above a world dominated by predators, formed part of an ancient river ecosystem in Africa that teemed with life including fish, crocodiles, turtles and several predatory dinosaurs.

“Pterosaur remains are very rare, with most known from Europe, South America and Asia. These new finds are very exciting and provide a window into the world of pterosaurs in Cretaceous Africa,” said lead author Megan L. Jacobs, a doctoral candidate in geosciences at Baylor University.

The study, published in the journal Cretaceous Research, is helping to uncover the poorly known evolutionary history of Africa during the time of the dinosaurs. The research finds that African pterosaurs were quite similar to those found on other continents. Their world included crocodile-like hunters and carnivorous dinosaurs, with few herbivores. Many predators, including the toothed pterosaurs, preyed on a superabundance of fish.

“For such large animals, they would have weighed very little,” Jacobs said. “Their wingspans were around 10 to 13 feet, with their bones almost paper-thin and full of air, very similar to birds. This allowed these awesome creatures to reach incredible sizes and still be able to take off and soar the skies.”

Pterosaurs snatched up their prey while on the wing, using a set of large spike-like teeth to grab. Large pterosaurs such as these would have been able to forage over hundreds of miles, with fossil evidence showing they flew between South America and Africa, similar to present-day birds such as condors and albatrosses, researchers said.

The specimens — identified by researchers from chunks of jaws with teeth — were obtained from fossil miners in a small village called Beggaa, just outside Erfoud in southeast Morocco. These villagers daily climb halfway up the side of a large escarpment, known as the Kem Kem beds, to a layer of a coarse sand, the most fossiliferous bed.

“They excavate everything they find, from teeth to bones to almost complete skeletons,” Jacobs said. “They then sell their finds to dealers and scientists who conduct fieldwork, ensuring the villagers make enough money to survive while we get new fossils to describe. These pterosaur fragments are unique and can be identified easily — if you know what to look for.”

One of the species, Anhanguera, previously was only known to be from Brazil. Another, Ornithocheirus, had until now only been found in England and Middle Asia.

This year’s find brings to five the total of toothed pterosaurs whose remains have been found in the Kem Kem beds, with the first described in the 1990s and the second one last year, Jacobs said. The specimens will be part of an acquisition in a museum in Morocco.

How Jurassic pterosaurs fed, new research


This video is called TRILOGY OF LIFE – Walking with Dinosaurs – “Ramphorhynchus“.

By John Pickrell, January 27, 2020 at 5:00 am:

A squid fossil offers a rare record of pterosaur feeding behavior

A tooth embedded in a squid fossil tells a story of a battle at sea with the flying reptile

A fossil of a squid with a pterosaur tooth embedded in it offers extraordinary evidence of a 150-million-year-old battle at sea. While many pterosaur fossils containing fish scales and bones in their stomachs have revealed that some of these flying reptiles included fish in their diet, the new find from Germany is the first proof that pterosaurs also hunted squid.

The fossil was excavated in 2012 in the Solnhofen Limestone, near Eichstätt in Bavaria, where many Jurassic Period fossils of pterosaurs, small dinosaurs and the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx, have been found. The region’s environment at the time was something like the Bahamas today, with low-lying islands dotting shallow tropical seas.

The embedded tooth fits the right size and shape for the pterosaur Rhamphorhynchus, paleontologists report online January 27 in Scientific Reports. They argue that the tooth was left by a pterosaur that swooped to the ocean surface to snap up the 30-centimeter-long squid from the extinct Plesioteuthis genus, but was unsuccessful, possibly because the squid was too large or too far down in the water column for the predator to manage.

“The Plesioteuthis squid wrestled it off and escaped, breaking at least one tooth off the pterosaur, which became lodged in [the squid’s] mantle,” says Jordan Bestwick, a paleontologist at the University of Leicester in England. “This fossil is important in helping us understand the dietary range of Rhamphorhynchus, and tells us about its hunting behavior.”

The fossil itself is unique, according to pterosaur researcher Taíssa Rodrigues at the Federal University of Espírito Santo in Vitorio, Brazil, who was not involved in the study. “It is very rare to find predator-prey interactions that include pterosaurs,” she says. “In the few cases we do have, pterosaurs were the prey of large fish. So it is great to see this the other way around.”

Paleontologist Michael Habib of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles says he suspects the squid was far too large for the pterosaur to haul out of the water. “The pterosaur was lucky that the tooth broke off,” says Habib, who was not involved with the study. “A squid of that size could probably have pulled it under.”

How pterosaurs started flying


This 18 August 2019 video saysabout itself:

How Pterosaurs Got Their Wings

When pterosaurs first took flight, you could say that it marked the beginning of the end for the winged reptiles. Because, strangely enough, the power of flight — and the changes that it led to — may have ultimately led to their downfall.

Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the excellent Scleromochlus illustration!

Big pterosaur discovery in Canada


Cryodrakon boreas. Credit David Maas

Artist’s depiction of Cryodrakon boreas, featuring Canadian colours in honour of where the fossils were found. The true colours of the species aren’t actually known. Illustration: Davis Maas

This is artist David Maas’s depiction of Cryodrakon boreas, featuring Canadian colours in honour of where the fossils were found. The true colours of the species aren’t actually known.

From Queen Mary University of London, England:

New flying reptile species was one of largest ever flying animals

September 10, 2019

A newly identified species of pterosaur is among the largest ever flying animals, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London.

Cryodrakon boreas, from the Azhdarchid group of pterosaurs (often incorrectly called ‘pterodactyls‘), was a flying reptile with a wingspan of up to 10 metres which lived during the Cretaceous period around 77 million years ago.

Its remains were discovered 30 years ago in Alberta, Canada, but palaeontologists had assumed they belonged to an already known species of pterosaur discovered in Texas, USA, named Quetzalcoatlus.

The study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, reveals it is actually a new species and the first pterosaur to be discovered in Canada.

Dr David Hone, lead author of the study from Queen Mary University of London, said: “This is a cool discovery, we knew this animal was here but now we can show it is different to other azhdarchids and so it gets a name.”

Although the remains — consisting of a skeleton that has part of the wings, legs, neck and a rib — were originally assigned to Quetzalcoatlus, study of this and additional material uncovered over the years shows it is a different species in light of the growing understanding of Azhdarchid diversity.

The main skeleton is from a young animal with a wingspan of about 5 metres but one giant neck bone from another specimen suggests an adult animal would have a wingspan of around 10 metres.

This makes Cryodrakon boreas comparable in size to other giant azhdarchids including the Texan Quetzalcoatlus which could reach 10.5 m in wingspan and weighed around 250 kg.

Like other azhdarchids these animals were carnivorous and predominantly predated on small animals which would likely include lizards, mammals and even baby dinosaurs.

Dr Hone added: “It is great that we can identify Cryodrakon as being distinct to Quetzalcoatlus as it means we have a better picture of the diversity and evolution of predatory pterosaurs in North America.”

Unlike most pterosaur groups, Azhdarchids are known primarily from terrestrial settings and, despite their likely capacity to cross oceanic distances in flight, they are broadly considered to be animals that were adapted for, and lived in, inland environments.

Despite their large size and a distribution across North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe, few azhdarchids are known from more than fragmentary remains. This makes Cryodrakon an important animal since it has very well preserved bones and includes multiple individuals of different sizes.

Filter-feeding Jurassic pterosaurs, new study


This 23 October 2019 video says about itself:

Pterosaurs Size Comparison

Pterosaurs, meaning “winged lizards” were flying reptiles of the extinct clade or order Pterosauria. Pterosaurs existed during most of the Mesozoic: from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous (228 to 66 million years ago). Pterosaurs are the earliest vertebrates known to have evolved powered flight. Their wings were formed by a membrane of skin, muscle, and other tissues stretching from the ankles to a dramatically lengthened fourth finger.

From Uppsala University in Sweden:

Filter-feeding pterosaurs were the flamingos of the Late Jurassic

August 26, 2019

Modern flamingoes employ filter feeding and their feces are, as a result, rich in remains of microscopically-small aquatic prey. Very similar contents are described from more than 150 million-year-old pterosaur droppings in a recent paper in PeerJ. This represents the first direct evidence of filter-feeding in Late Jurassic pterosaurs and demonstrates that their diet and feeding environment were similar to those of modern flamingoes.

Pterosaurs were a diverse group of flying reptiles that roamed the skies during the age of dinosaurs. Skeletal fossils suggest that they, just like modern birds, adapted to diverse lifestyles and feeding habits. Direct evidence on diets such as gut contents, however, are rare and only known from a few pterosaur species.

Coprolites, that is fossil droppings, are surprisingly common fossils and they potentially hold valuable information on the diet of extinct animals. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to know which animal produced which dropping.

In a recent paper, researchers from Uppsala University and the Polish Academy of Sciences describe the contents of three coprolites collected from a surface with abundant pterosaur footprints in the Wierzbica Quarry in Poland. The coprolites’ size, shape and association to the tracks suggest that they were produced by pterosaurs, most probably belonging to a group called Ctenochasmatidae.

The fossil droppings were scanned using synchrotron microtomography, which works in a similar way to a CT-scanner in a hospital but with much stronger x-ray beams. This makes it possible to image the contents of fossils in three dimensions. The scans of the pterosaur coprolites revealed many microscopic food remains including foraminifera (small amoeboid protists with external shells), small shells of marine invertebrates and possible remains of polychaete worms.

“A reasonable explanation for how a pterosaur big enough to have produced the droppings ingested such small prey is through filter feeding,” says Martin Qvarnström, PhD student at Uppsala University and one of the authors of the article.

Some ctenochasmid pterosaurs are thought to have been filter feeders. Pterodaustro, which comes from the Cretaceous and is thus slightly younger than the Polish coprolites, possessed a sieving basket consisting of many long, thin teeth and was certainly a filter feeder. Older ctenochasmids did not possess such an obvious sieving basket, but some had elongated snouts with many slender teeth, also interpreted as adaptations for filter feeding. These pterosaurs were around at the time the droppings were made, and as the footprints from the site have also been attributed to ctenochasmids it is likely that such pterosaurs produced both the droppings and the footprints.

The modern Chilean flamingo, which is a filter feeder, can produce droppings full of foraminifera when feeding in coastal wetlands.

“The similar contents of the droppings of these flamingos and the pterosaur coprolites could be explained by similar feeding environments and mesh sizes of the filter-feeding apparatus. It appears therefore that the pterosaurs which produced the footprints and droppings found in Poland were indeed the flamingos of the Late Jurassic,” says Martin Qvarnström.

Azhdarchid pterosaurs, videos


This 19 August 2018 video says about itself:

Giants of the Ancient Skies – Azhdarchids (Part 1)

The Azhdarchid pterosaurs are truly one of the most impressive groups of animals that have ever graced this planet. These absolutely huge creatures were not only the largest pterosaurs, but some were also the largest flying animals of all time.

This 25 August 2019 video says about itself:

Were These Animals Too Big to Fly? – Azhdarchids (Part 2)

At long last it is here! Part 2! In this video we look at just how these huge animals were able to get into the ancient skies and stay there.

This is the third video in that series.