STL Science Center

STL Science Center

23 March 2012

The German Finger

G. rhamphastinus©Dmitry Bogdanov
First and foremost, I love the way Dmitry Bogdanov colors his prehistoric critters. I cannot say what it is exactly, but it just makes me cheerful to see his artwork and the lively way they are colored in. I think it has something to do with the way it doesn't necessarily look digital or painted, almost like it's pastel or colored pencil. Anyhow, allow us all to introduce ourselves to a much smaller and smaller ornamented pterosaur named Germanodactylus. Germanodactylus, type specimen and species name Germanodactylus cristatus (originally Pteradactylus cristatus) and a debated second species named Germanodactylus rhamphastinus (being an older specimen originally known as Ornithocephalus and now thought to be, potentially, changed to Daitingopterus).

Germanodactylus species were raven sized with G. rhamphastinus being slightly larger than a raven and thus slightly larger than G. cristatus. Both species had crests upon their heads constructed of both bone and soft tissue and both portions have been evidenced in the fossil record. In 2002 S. Christopher Bennett produced a paper which described for the first time the soft tissue evidence of the fossil record. Bennett has additionally created arguments which confirm both species as valid in the genus, however, he was not the first to study the genus or the two species. The species were originally named P. cristatus in 1925 by Carl Wiman and Ornithocephalus in 1851 by Johann Andreas Wagner. Wagner's Ornithocephalus was added to Germanodactylus by Wellnhofer in 1970.

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