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A possible azhdarchid pterosaur (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) in the Durlston Formation (Early Cretaceous, Berriasian) of southern England

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A new specimen of pterosaurian metacarpal IV from the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) Durlston Formation of Dorset, southern England, closely resembles those of the Chinese dsungaripterid Dsungaripterus weii Young, 1964 and the Central Asian azhdarchid Azhdarcho lancicollis Nessov, 1984. However, the new specimen lacks the thickened bony wall typical of Dsungaripteridae and is therefore regarded as azhdarchoid. An mcIV with a markedly offset distal condyle with well-developed diaphyseal constriction behind the distal condyle and asymmetrical condylar margins may be an autapomorphy of Dsungaripteridae + Azhdarchoidea, while the same condition with bone thickening may typify Dsungaripteridae. The new specimen also provides osteological evidence supporting claims for large wing-spanned pterosaurs in the Berriasian of southern England based previously only on ichnological finds. The new specimen suggests a wingspan of between 2.9 and 3.7 m and represents the largest pterosaur from the Berriasian.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-39
JournalCretaceous Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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