A brand unique re-examination of fossil fabric housed within the Sedgwick Museum of Cambridge and the Gross sales arrangement Museum at Brighton has published the fossilized jaw fragments from a brand unique Cretaceous-interval azhdarchid pterosaur previously identified as shark fin spines and fish jaws.
Roy Smith, a PhD student at the College of Portsmouth, made the discovery while he modified into inspecting the fish fossils quiet from the West Melbury Marly Chalk Formation just a few century within the past.
The fossils had been truly fragments of jaws of toothless pterosaurs, which fetch indeed resemble shark fin spines, but there are many subtle variations that enable them to be well-known.
“One such feature is itsy-bitsy puny holes the keep nerves come to the surface and are veteran for sensitive feeding by the pterosaurs,” Smith mentioned.
“Shark fin spines fetch not beget these, however the early paleontologists clearly missed these ingredients.”
Two of the specimens analyzed by Smith and his colleagues could per chance per chance also honest even be identified as a pterosaur called Ornithostoma sedgwicki, but one further specimen is clearly particular and represents a brand unique species within the pterosaur clade Azhdarchoidea.
“Unfortunately, this specimen is simply too fragmentary to be the basis for naming the unique species,” Smith mentioned.
“It is uncertain if from now on stays of this pterosaur will doubtless be found, as there are not any exposures of the rock from which the fossils came.”
“The puny little bit of beak is fascinating in that it’s far itsy-bitsy, and easily differs from Ornithostoma in subtle ways, in all likelihood within the system that a huge white egret could per chance per chance differ from a heron,” mentioned College of Portsmouth’s Professor Dave Martill, co-creator of the take a look at.
“Seemingly the diversities in lifestyles would had been extra to fetch with colour, call and habits than within the skeleton.”
“Pterosaurs with a kind of these beaks are better known at the time interval from North Africa, so it’d be life like to decide on a likeness to the North African Alanqa.”
“This is very titillating to beget found this mystery pterosaur valid right here within the UK.”
“This salvage is considerable because it adds to our data of these historic and attention-grabbing flying prehistoric reptiles, but also demonstrates that such discoveries could per chance per chance also honest even be made, simply by re-inspecting fabric in earlier collections.”
The take a look at looks within the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Affiliation.
Roy E. Smith et al. Edentulous pterosaurs from the Cambridge Greensand (Cretaceous) of jap England with a review of Ornithostoma Seeley, 1871. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Affiliation, published online November 6, 2020; doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2020.10.004