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A new small-bodied azhdarchoid pterosaur from the lower cretaceous of England and its implications for pterosaur anatomy, diversity and phylogeny.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(3):e58451.Plos

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Pterosaurs have been known from the Cretaceous sediments of the Isle of Wight (southern England, United Kingdom) since 1870. We describe the three-dimensional pelvic girdle and associated vertebrae of a small near-adult pterodactyloid from the Atherfield Clay Formation (lower Aptian, Lower Cretaceous). Despite acknowledged variation in the pterosaur pelvis, previous studies have not adequately sampled or incorporated pelvic characters into phylogenetic analyses.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS

The new specimen represents the new taxon Vectidraco daisymorrisae gen. et sp. nov., diagnosed by the presence of a concavity posterodorsal to the acetabulum and the form of its postacetabular process on the ilium. Several characters suggest that Vectidraco belongs to Azhdarchoidea. We constructed a pelvis-only phylogenetic analysis to test whether the pterosaur pelvis carries a useful phylogenetic signal. Resolution in recovered trees was poor, but they approximately matched trees recovered from analyses of total evidence. We also added Vectidraco and our pelvic characters to an existing total-evidence matrix for pterosaurs. Both analyses recovered Vectidraco within Azhdarchoidea.

CONCLUSIONS/ SIGNIFICANCE

The Lower Cretaceous strata of western Europe have yielded members of several pterosaur lineages, but Aptian pterosaurs from western Europe are rare. With a pelvis length of 40 mm, the new animal would have had a total length of c. 350 mm, and a wingspan of c. 750 mm. Barremian and Aptian pterodactyloids from western Europe show that small-bodied azhdarchoids lived alongside ornithocheirids and istiodactylids. This assemblage is similar in terms of which lineages are represented to the coeval beds of Liaoning, China; however, the number of species and specimens present at Liaoning is much higher. While the general phylogenetic composition of western European and Chinese communities appear to have been approximately similar, the differences may be due to different palaeoenvironmental and depositional settings. The western Europe pterodactyloid record may therefore be artificially low in diversity due to preservational factors.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom. eotyrannus@gmail.comNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

23526986

Citation

Naish, Darren, et al. "A New Small-bodied Azhdarchoid Pterosaur From the Lower Cretaceous of England and Its Implications for Pterosaur Anatomy, Diversity and Phylogeny." PloS One, vol. 8, no. 3, 2013, pp. e58451.
Naish D, Simpson M, Dyke G. A new small-bodied azhdarchoid pterosaur from the lower cretaceous of England and its implications for pterosaur anatomy, diversity and phylogeny. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58451.
Naish, D., Simpson, M., & Dyke, G. (2013). A new small-bodied azhdarchoid pterosaur from the lower cretaceous of England and its implications for pterosaur anatomy, diversity and phylogeny. PloS One, 8(3), e58451. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0058451
Naish D, Simpson M, Dyke G. A New Small-bodied Azhdarchoid Pterosaur From the Lower Cretaceous of England and Its Implications for Pterosaur Anatomy, Diversity and Phylogeny. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58451. PubMed PMID: 23526986.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - A new small-bodied azhdarchoid pterosaur from the lower cretaceous of England and its implications for pterosaur anatomy, diversity and phylogeny. AU - Naish,Darren, AU - Simpson,Martin, AU - Dyke,Gareth, Y1 - 2013/03/18/ PY - 2012/10/02/received PY - 2013/02/04/accepted PY - 2013/3/26/entrez PY - 2013/3/26/pubmed PY - 2013/9/21/medline SP - e58451 EP - e58451 JF - PloS one JO - PLoS One VL - 8 IS - 3 N2 - BACKGROUND: Pterosaurs have been known from the Cretaceous sediments of the Isle of Wight (southern England, United Kingdom) since 1870. We describe the three-dimensional pelvic girdle and associated vertebrae of a small near-adult pterodactyloid from the Atherfield Clay Formation (lower Aptian, Lower Cretaceous). Despite acknowledged variation in the pterosaur pelvis, previous studies have not adequately sampled or incorporated pelvic characters into phylogenetic analyses. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The new specimen represents the new taxon Vectidraco daisymorrisae gen. et sp. nov., diagnosed by the presence of a concavity posterodorsal to the acetabulum and the form of its postacetabular process on the ilium. Several characters suggest that Vectidraco belongs to Azhdarchoidea. We constructed a pelvis-only phylogenetic analysis to test whether the pterosaur pelvis carries a useful phylogenetic signal. Resolution in recovered trees was poor, but they approximately matched trees recovered from analyses of total evidence. We also added Vectidraco and our pelvic characters to an existing total-evidence matrix for pterosaurs. Both analyses recovered Vectidraco within Azhdarchoidea. CONCLUSIONS/ SIGNIFICANCE: The Lower Cretaceous strata of western Europe have yielded members of several pterosaur lineages, but Aptian pterosaurs from western Europe are rare. With a pelvis length of 40 mm, the new animal would have had a total length of c. 350 mm, and a wingspan of c. 750 mm. Barremian and Aptian pterodactyloids from western Europe show that small-bodied azhdarchoids lived alongside ornithocheirids and istiodactylids. This assemblage is similar in terms of which lineages are represented to the coeval beds of Liaoning, China; however, the number of species and specimens present at Liaoning is much higher. While the general phylogenetic composition of western European and Chinese communities appear to have been approximately similar, the differences may be due to different palaeoenvironmental and depositional settings. The western Europe pterodactyloid record may therefore be artificially low in diversity due to preservational factors. SN - 1932-6203 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23526986/A_new_small_bodied_azhdarchoid_pterosaur_from_the_lower_cretaceous_of_England_and_its_implications_for_pterosaur_anatomy_diversity_and_phylogeny_ L2 - https://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0058451 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -