The stays of a brand new pterosaur species have been found in Bavaria, Germany. The prehistoric flying reptile, which has been given the identify Balaenognathus maeuseri, lived throughout the Jurassic Interval. Its distinctive, spatula-shaped invoice contained at the least 480 needle-like tooth, which have been seemingly used to filter particles of meals from water.
Learn on for extra data on the brand new species…
What Did Balaenognathus maeuseri Look Like?
Balaenognathus maeuseri belonged to the suborder Pterodactyloidea, and, sometimes for pterosaurs on this group, had a brief tail, comparatively slim wings, and prolonged metacarpals.
As well as, the newly-discovered pterosaur had lengthy legs, a protracted neck, and an uncommon, spatula-shaped invoice.
Its wingspan is estimated to have been round 1.17 meters (3.8 ft); barely bigger than that of Pterodactylus antiquus, which additionally lived within the Late Jurassic, however far smaller than that of giants resembling Quetzalcoatlus, which appeared within the Late Cretaceous Interval.
Pterodactyloidea – the suborder to which Balaenognathus maeuseri belonged – was one in all two primary teams of pterosaurs, the opposite being Rhamphorhynchoidea, whose members had lengthy tails.
Pterodactyloid pterosaurs first appeared within the Center Jurassic, and as they developed, step by step misplaced their tooth. By the Late Cretaceous, no toothed pterodactyloid pterosaurs remained. (This mirrors chook evolution; the ancestors of birds (i.e. dinosaurs) had tooth, however trendy birds lack tooth.)
Balaenognathus maeuseri, nonetheless, was round within the Jurassic, and had tooth in abundance; at the least 480 of them, all needle-shaped and certain designed for filter feeding.
The pterosaur’s tooth lined both facet of its distinctive, spatula-shaped invoice, the entrance of which lacked tooth. This adaptation allowed water to enter the mouth earlier than being expelled by way of the interlocked tooth of the higher and decrease jaws. Particles of meals caught by the tooth have been then swallowed.
Small, hook-like extensions discovered on the suggestions of the Pterosaur’s tooth might have improved the filter-feeding course of.
Balaenognathus maeuseri was a member of the household Ctenochasmatidae, a gaggle of pterosaurs with tooth tailored for filter feeding.
Balaenognathus maeuseri Identify
The primary a part of the identify “Balaenognathus maeuseri” combines a reference to the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) with the Latin phrase for jaw, “gnathus”, and actually means “bowhead whale jaw”.
The identify refers back to the assumed similarity in feeding habits between pterosaur and whale, each animals being filter feeders.
The second a part of the pterosaur’s identify is a tribute to Matthias Mäuser, director of the Naturkunde-Museum Bamberg, who co-authored the paper describing the brand new pterosaur, however died earlier than its publication.
The place Was Balaenognathus maeuseri Discovered?
Balaenognathus maeuseri was found in limestone deposits positioned close to the village of Wattendorf, in southern Germany.
Balaenognathus maeuseri was not the primary pterosaur to be discovered on this locality; it was the rocks of this space that yielded the stays of the very first pterosaur to be discovered: Pterodactylus antiquus, found within the late 18th Century by Italian naturalist Cosimo Alessandro Collini.
The stays of quite a few different pterosaurs have since been unearthed within the space, whose sedimentary rocks present excellent circumstances for the preservation of the flying reptiles’ light-weight bones.
A number of different kinds of prehistoric animal, together with early crocodiles and dinosaurs, have been present in the identical space.
Balaenognathus maeuseri was found by chance by paleontologists learning rocks containing the bones of crocodylomorphs. Regardless of being present in 17 components, when assembled, the specimen is sort of full. The 17 items kind a slab measuring 60 × 47 cm.
How Lengthy In the past Did Balaenognathus maeuseri Stay?
The fossilized stays of Balaenognathus maeuseri have been discovered within the Torleite Formation, which shaped throughout the Late Jurassic Interval. Because of this Balaenognathus maeuseri lived sooner or later between 157 and 145 million years in the past.
Who Found The New Pterosaur Species?
Balaenognathus maeuseri was described by paleontologists David M. Martill, Eberhard Frey, Helmut Tischlinger, Matthias Mäuser, Héctor E. Rivera-Sylva and Steven U. Vidovic in a paper that may be learn right here.
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