STL Science Center

STL Science Center

02 March 2012

Almost Like a Bat

I'm back home, so yay for getting back to regular postings without mobile devices!

In 1923 Ludwig Doderlein described and named a small pterosaur that had a body shape very much akin to a flying wing. The lack of a substantial tail prompted Doderlein to name this animal for that very important attribute, or lack of an attribute at least. The animal's name is Anurognathus meaning "without tail jaw". That is Anurognathus ammoni actually. The specific name was attached to the specimen in honor of the collector from whom Doderlein acquired the holotype fossil a year earlier, one Ludwig von Ammon, a German geologist. This pterosaur came from the Solnhofen limestones of Eichstatt; Solnhofen being a very significant source of many fossils including Archaeopteryx. Thought to be a swift flyer originally it has since been re-envisioned as a swift adjuster; a quick maneuvering animal rather than a quick flying animal. Popular scientific entities (read television) have pegged it as an animal that was codependent with larger animals such as Diplodocus or have twisted it into a small but voracious carnivore. The truth shall be found this week however!

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