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Aurorazhdarcho micronyx (fossil pterosaur) (Solnhofen Limestone, Upper Jurassic; Bavaria, Germany) | by James St. John
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Aurorazhdarcho micronyx (fossil pterosaur) (Solnhofen Limestone, Upper Jurassic; Bavaria, Germany)

Aurorazhdarcho micronyx (Meyer, 1856) - fossil pterosaur from the Jurassic of Germany. (CM 11426, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

 

Formerly identified as Pterodactylus micronyx.

 

This is a rare complete skeleton of a small fossil pterosaur from the famous Solnhofen Limestone, a deposit that includes soft-part preservation. The number one most famous fossil on Earth came from Solnhofen - Archaeopteryx, which is literally half-reptile, half-bird (creationists hate that fossil). The Solnhofen is a lagoon deposit that has marine, nonmarine, and marginal marine organisms, including animals and plants.

 

Pterosaurs are not dinosaurs. Pterosaurs are an extinct group of powered flying reptiles. They first appear in Triassic rocks and go extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, 65 million years ago. The wings of pterosaurs consist of arms with hyperelongated pinky fingers having a flap of skin extending from the tip back to the body. Pterosaur bones were fragile, so well preserved fossils are rare. Very rare pterosaur specimens from Russia have soft-part preservation and show the presence of body hair, indicating that pterosaurs had some type of endothermy (warm-bloodedness). They were principally fish eaters (piscivores), although filter-feeding pterosaurs have been found, and inferred mollusc-eating forms have also been described.

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From museum signage:

 

Fossils from the quarries of Solnhofen in southern Germany reveal the rich variety of life that thrived in and around Late Jurassic seas.

 

The ancient environmental conditions at Solnhofen resulted in the remarkable preservation of fossils representing hundreds of Late Jurassic plant, invertebrate, fish, reptile, and bird species. A series of shallow, tropical lagoons extended across southern Europe during this time. Reefs and rock outcrops sheltered these waters from the action of waves and tides. When organisms died in these quiet lagoons, they often sank to the bottom to be buried by fine-grained sediments. The water at the bottom of many Solnhofen lagoons contained little or no oxygen. These conditions not only spared many carcasses from damage or decomposition by bacteria and other scavengers, but also helped to preserved delicate soft-tissue features such as skin, scales, and feathers in exquisite detail.

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Classification: Animalia, Chordata, Vertebrata, Reptilia, Archosauria, Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea, Ctenochasmatidae

 

Stratigraphy: Solnhofen Limestone, Upper Jurassic

 

Locality: Bavaria, southern Germany

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See info. at:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurorazhdarcho

and

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterosaur

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Taken on January 30, 2011