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Insectivorous pterosaur

Insectivorous pterosaur

Before you is the reconstruction of the pterosaur anurognate (3-3-3205. Anurognathus ammoni 3-3-3206.), Who lived at the end of 3-3-3323. Jurassic Period 3-3-3202. (150-148 million years ago) in the territory of modern Germany. It was one of the smallest pterosaurs 3-3-3202. : its wingspan was only 35 cm, and its mass was about 40 grams. For comparison, the wingspan of the largest pterosaurs is 3–3–327. quetzalcoatl and hatsegopteryksa from the group Azhdarchid 3-3-3202. reached 10–11 meters (see picture of the day 3–3–333. The winged monsters of ancient Transylvania 3–3–3202.).

The first copy of the anurognate was described in 1923 by the German scientist Ludwig Doderlein ( Ludwig Heinrich Philipp Doderlein ). It is a relatively complete skeleton, although most are present only in the form of an imprint. In 1975 holotype rewritten by Peter Wellnhofer ( Peter Wellnhofer ).

Insectivorous pterosaur

Holotype of anurognate. Photo from the site reptileevolution.com

The second instance was described in 2007 by Christopher Bennett. It was better preserved than the first, and in ultraviolet light even the remains of muscles and wing membranes are visible.

Insectivorous pterosaur

Photo of a second copy of anurognate in ultraviolet light. When exposed to ultraviolet light, the minerals that replace bone and soft tissue are 3–3–383. 3-3-3202 fluoresce. different colors. Substituted soft tissue glows blue. Photo from the site pterosaur.net

Anurognath has many unique attributes. So, he has the largest (relative to body size) eye sockets among all pterosaurs. The skull is wide and has a U-shape (projected from above), and its width is greater than the length. The mouth is wide and able to open at an angle of more than 90 degrees. All other pterosaurs have long and narrow skulls with an elongated mouth. The flying finger (the fourth finger of the forelimbs, to which the membrane was attached) had only three phalanges, but the joints between them remained mobile, which no other pterosaurs also have. Like some other pterosaurs, anurognate was densely covered with downy fibers - 3-3-3393. pycnofibres 3-3-3202. , especially long along the trailing edge of the wing, which is not observed in other pterosaurs.

Insectivorous pterosaur

Reconstruction of the anurognate skeleton, view from the back. Shows the range of flexion of the flying finger and, accordingly, changes in the shape of the wing. Figure from an article by S. C. Bennett 2007.3-3r3107. A second specimen of the pterosaur Anurognathus ammoni

Anurognath found in the same 3-3-3119. ash-limestone limestones that of the fish-eating pterosaur ramforinha (see 3-3-3121. The pterosaurs-ramforinchs preyed on the cephalopod mollusks of the Jurassic period 3-3-3202., "Elements" 03032020). But, unlike him, anurognath was an insectivore. This is fully consistent with the mentioned unique attributes. The wide jaws of the anurognate are similar to the jaws of Kozodoy 3-3-3202. or frogs that feed on insects, and at night or at dusk. The anurognate has huge eye sockets (and therefore eyes), which, most likely, made it possible to see at dusk or even in the dark. Therefore, it is possible that anurognates hunted in the woods, where there is little light, or at dusk. Again, the anurognate's skull is so fragile that it is unlikely that it could defeat a larger victim than insects.

Insectivorous pterosaur

Reconstruction of the appearance of anurognate, view from the back, side, pretty face with big eyes. Figure © Gabriel Ugueto

It is worth noting that catching insects is not an easy task. Insects began to fly as early as 3-3-3153. Devonian period 3-3-3202. (see 3-3-3155. Born to crawl can not fly, but can plan 3-3-3202., "Elements", 03/31/2009), so that by the time the pterosaurs appeared, they had a head start of at least 100 million years. Although insects fly slowly, their low weight allows them to quickly change direction. Therefore, in order to catch an insect on the fly, you need to be agile, maneuverable, possess sharp eyesight and good coordination of movements. All this was fully with the anurognate. Study of the functional morphology of anurognate 3-3-3157. showed that its wings were able to withstand a load 22 times its weight. So he could not be afraid of overloads at steep turns, and thanks to a relatively short flying finger with flexible joints, the anurognate could change the wing geometry on the fly, which also added maneuverability. Bunches of pycnofibres at the edge of the wing improved aerodynamic performance and allowed them to fly silently, like an owl. Most likely, he was an extremely dexterous flyer, capable of both flapping flight, and to sharp somersaults and turns, while remaining completely silent.

Anurognath belonged to the family named named after him. anurognatide 3-3-3202. . In addition to it, the family includes a geholopter (3–3–3205. 3–3–3164. Jeholopterus 3–3–3202. 3–3–3206.) From the late Jurassic of China, dendrorinchoid (3–3–3205. 3–3–3168. batrahognat 3-3-3202. (3-3-3205. Batrachognathus 3-3-3206.) From the Late Jurassic of Kazakhstan and vesperopteryl (3-3-3205. 3-3-3176. Vesperopterylus 3-3-3202. 3-3-3206.) From the early 3-3-3-3199. Cretaceous 3-3-3202. China. All these were small insectivorous animals similar to each other. Apparently, the “construction” of the anurognathid body turned out to be so successful that they lasted almost unchanged for about 40 million years and settled almost throughout the Northern Hemisphere (their remains were found not only in Germany, but also in Kazakhstan, China and the USA), and became extinct only under the pressure of competing birds.

Insectivorous pterosaur

Comparative sizes of several anurognatids and a person 1.8 m tall. Figure from the site prehistoric-wildlife.com

Figure © Helmert Ravenhorst from deviantart.com .

Konstantin Rybakov

22 май 2020 /
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