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News on Gwawinapterus

April 3, 2012

According to Mark Witton, the animal exhibits a very weird style of tooth replacement, with new teeth growing directly over the old. This style is so far absent from other toothed pterosaurs, and it is very likely that the animal is not an istiodactylid as previously thought.

The question, thus, is whereas the animal is even a pterosaur or not. This parallels the situation with Samrukia, whose identity as a pterosaur is also being debated. In both cases, I’d say the stakes are quite high; if they both turn out to be pterosaurs, then are quite important in demonstrating pterosaur diversity at the post-Turonian Cretaceous.

I quite frankly do think Gwawinapterus is a pterosaur, though obviously not an istiodactylid, but an anurognathid. Anurognthids have the honour of both being the most basal pterosaur lineage and of having quite few fossils in their name; from what we have seen so far, they are highly unusual and certainly worlds apart from pterodactyloids, so if they turn out to have an unusual tooth replacement style it’d probably be of little surprise.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Random Guy permalink
    May 1, 2012 6:45 am

    Maybe a winged choristodere? šŸ˜› šŸ˜†

    • May 1, 2012 8:54 am


      • Random Guy permalink
        May 2, 2012 4:18 am

        It would make a cool alternate prehistory fanfic. A world where choristoderes fly, pterosaurs act like pliosaurs, dinosaurs and pseudosuchians crawl around in dens while mammals and notosuchians rule the surface.

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