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Mesozoic Mosaic pg#1

Illustration of Nyctosaurus KJ2 flying - by Beri (digital), Copyright 2004 BERI

Nyctosaurus - a pterosaur with a large crest

Christopher Bennett from University of Bridgeport Bridgeport, CT, recently described a couple of new exciting fossil specimens of pterosaurs:

Bennett S. C. 2003. New crested specimens of the Late Cretaceous pterosaur Nyctosaurus. - Palaeontologische Zeitschrift, 77 (1): 61-75, 6 figs., 1 tab.; Stuttgart.

Link: Nyctosaurus_KJ1_Thumbnails.html

Nyctosaurus turned out to have an extremely large cranial crest nearly three times the length of the skull and bifurcating into an upward extending and a shorter backward extending ramus. Whether these supported a sail-like membrane is at the moment a pure speculation. As Chris notes: "I discussed the question of a membrane between the two rami of the crest in the paper and concluded that there was no evidence of any membrane between the rami and good reason to think that there was not one. Despite that, for some reason that I cannot understand everyone else seems to think that there was a membrane between the rami." Evidence is based on 2 specimens in a private collection. No species name is applied and the specimens are refereed to as KJ1&KJ2.

Publishers interested in the above illustration (high resolution image for publishing purposes), please, contact Beri.

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