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Pterodactylus scolopaciceps Meyer, 1860 (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from the Upper Jurassic of Bavaria, Germany: the problem of cryptic pterosaur taxa in early ontogeny.

Vidovic SU, Martill DM - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: P. scolopaciceps is found to be a valid taxon, but placement within Pterodactylus is inappropriate.Consequently, the new genus Aerodactylus is erected to accommodate it.A cladistic analysis demonstrates that Aerodactylus is distinct from Pterodactylus, but close to Cycnorhamphus Seeley, 1870, Ardeadactylus Bennett, 2013a and Aurorazhdarcho Frey, Meyer and Tischlinger, 2011, consequently we erect the inclusive taxon Aurorazhdarchidae for their reception.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Earth and Environmental sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
The taxonomy of the Late Jurassic pterodactyloid pterosaur Pterodactylus scolopaciceps Meyer, 1860 from the Solnhofen Limestone Formation of Bavaria, Germany is reviewed. Its nomenclatural history is long and complex, having been synonymised with both P. kochi (Wagner, 1837), and P. antiquus (Sömmerring, 1812). The majority of pterosaur species from the Solnhofen Limestone, including P. scolopaciceps are represented by juveniles. Consequently, specimens can appear remarkably similar due to juvenile characteristics detracting from taxonomic differences that are exaggerated in later ontogeny. Previous morphological and morphometric analyses have failed to separate species or even genera due to this problem, and as a result many species have been subsumed into a single taxon. A hypodigm for P. scolopaciceps, comprising of the holotype (BSP AS V 29 a/b) and material Broili referred to the taxon is described. P. scolopaciceps is found to be a valid taxon, but placement within Pterodactylus is inappropriate. Consequently, the new genus Aerodactylus is erected to accommodate it. Aerodactylus can be diagnosed on account of a unique suite of characters including jaws containing 16 teeth per-jaw, per-side, which are more sparsely distributed caudally and terminate rostral to the nasoantorbital fenestra; dorsal surface of the skull is subtly depressed rostral of the cranial table; rostrum very elongate (RI = ∼7), terminating in a point; orbits correspondingly low and elongate; elongate cervical vertebrae (approximately three times the length of their width); wing-metacarpal elongate, but still shorter than the ulna and first wing-phalanx; and pteroid approximately 65% of the total length of the ulna, straight and extremely thin (less than one third the width of the ulna). A cladistic analysis demonstrates that Aerodactylus is distinct from Pterodactylus, but close to Cycnorhamphus Seeley, 1870, Ardeadactylus Bennett, 2013a and Aurorazhdarcho Frey, Meyer and Tischlinger, 2011, consequently we erect the inclusive taxon Aurorazhdarchidae for their reception.

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A demonstration of the breadth of the quadratojugal’s rostral portion.A) Pterodactyulus antiquus; B) Cycnorhamphus suevicus; C) Aerodactylus scolopaciceps. j, jugal; q, quadrate; qj, quadratojugal. Scale bars = 10 mm.
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pone-0110646-g013: A demonstration of the breadth of the quadratojugal’s rostral portion.A) Pterodactyulus antiquus; B) Cycnorhamphus suevicus; C) Aerodactylus scolopaciceps. j, jugal; q, quadrate; qj, quadratojugal. Scale bars = 10 mm.

Mentions: We performed a cladistic analysis using TNT to test the relationship between Pterodactylus scolopaciceps, 31 other pterodatyloid pterosaurs and two non-pterodactyloid monofenestratans, Darwinopterus modularis and D. linglongtaensis which were used as outgroup taxa. This analysis recovered a single tree with a length of 409.145 steps, with a radically different topology from that of most published pterodactyloid phylogenies (e.g. phylogenies of Unwin [33]; Kellner [26]; Wang et al. [41]; Lü et al. [30]; Andres & Myers [42]), although similarities were found with the analysis of Howse [43]. The Ctenochasmatoidea of Unwin [33] and the Archaeopterodactyloidea of Kellner [40], [26] are found to be polyphyletic, with their traditional contents occupying the basal part of the pterodactyloid tree as a series of metataxa or as members of distinct clades. The controversial Germanodactylus species are not congeneric, as suggested by Maisch et al. [44]. The type species G. cristatus is the sister taxon to Dsungaripteridae + Azhdarchoidea, while “G. rhamphastinus” lies at the base of a clade containing Ardeadactylus and Cycnorhamphus. “Pterodactylus scolopaciceps” is distinct from Pterodactylus antiquus, located in a monophyletic clade that we name Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. (urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:F19628C7-8675-4148-AA54-A1C431543513) in replacement of the nomen nudem Protazhdarchidae Frey et al. 2011 [6], which does not comply with ICZN article 29.1. Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. contains “P. scolopaciceps” and its sister taxon Gladocephaloideus Lü, Ji, Wei and Liu, 2011 [45] (IG-CAGS-08-07) at its base, followed stepwise by Cycnorhamphus and the more derived sister taxa Ardeadactylus longicolum (Meyer, 1854 [7]) and Aurorazhdarcho micronyx (Meyer, 1856 [5]). Thus Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. is defined as Aurorazhdarcho, “Pterodactylus scolopaciceps”, their most recent common ancestor and all of its descendants. The Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. is based on six synapomorphies: (Ch. 13) the dorsal and ventral margins of the rostrum are mostly sub-parallel; (Ch. 42) the quadratojugal is robust, broadly separating the quadrate from the jugal (Fig. 13b & c); (Ch. 61) teeth are graded large to small caudally; (Ch. 68) the dentition is restricted to the prenarial rostrum; (Ch. 98) the pteroid is longer than half the length of the ulna (∼65% of the ulna in those with complete pteroids); and (Ch. 114) the prepubic plate (distal expansion) projects more posteroventrally than anterodorsally. In this cladogram Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. is the sister taxon to the Ornithocheiroidea + Azhdarchoidea, their most recent common ancestor and all of its descendants.


Pterodactylus scolopaciceps Meyer, 1860 (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from the Upper Jurassic of Bavaria, Germany: the problem of cryptic pterosaur taxa in early ontogeny.

Vidovic SU, Martill DM - PLoS ONE (2014)

A demonstration of the breadth of the quadratojugal’s rostral portion.A) Pterodactyulus antiquus; B) Cycnorhamphus suevicus; C) Aerodactylus scolopaciceps. j, jugal; q, quadrate; qj, quadratojugal. Scale bars = 10 mm.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4206445&req=5

pone-0110646-g013: A demonstration of the breadth of the quadratojugal’s rostral portion.A) Pterodactyulus antiquus; B) Cycnorhamphus suevicus; C) Aerodactylus scolopaciceps. j, jugal; q, quadrate; qj, quadratojugal. Scale bars = 10 mm.
Mentions: We performed a cladistic analysis using TNT to test the relationship between Pterodactylus scolopaciceps, 31 other pterodatyloid pterosaurs and two non-pterodactyloid monofenestratans, Darwinopterus modularis and D. linglongtaensis which were used as outgroup taxa. This analysis recovered a single tree with a length of 409.145 steps, with a radically different topology from that of most published pterodactyloid phylogenies (e.g. phylogenies of Unwin [33]; Kellner [26]; Wang et al. [41]; Lü et al. [30]; Andres & Myers [42]), although similarities were found with the analysis of Howse [43]. The Ctenochasmatoidea of Unwin [33] and the Archaeopterodactyloidea of Kellner [40], [26] are found to be polyphyletic, with their traditional contents occupying the basal part of the pterodactyloid tree as a series of metataxa or as members of distinct clades. The controversial Germanodactylus species are not congeneric, as suggested by Maisch et al. [44]. The type species G. cristatus is the sister taxon to Dsungaripteridae + Azhdarchoidea, while “G. rhamphastinus” lies at the base of a clade containing Ardeadactylus and Cycnorhamphus. “Pterodactylus scolopaciceps” is distinct from Pterodactylus antiquus, located in a monophyletic clade that we name Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. (urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:F19628C7-8675-4148-AA54-A1C431543513) in replacement of the nomen nudem Protazhdarchidae Frey et al. 2011 [6], which does not comply with ICZN article 29.1. Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. contains “P. scolopaciceps” and its sister taxon Gladocephaloideus Lü, Ji, Wei and Liu, 2011 [45] (IG-CAGS-08-07) at its base, followed stepwise by Cycnorhamphus and the more derived sister taxa Ardeadactylus longicolum (Meyer, 1854 [7]) and Aurorazhdarcho micronyx (Meyer, 1856 [5]). Thus Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. is defined as Aurorazhdarcho, “Pterodactylus scolopaciceps”, their most recent common ancestor and all of its descendants. The Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. is based on six synapomorphies: (Ch. 13) the dorsal and ventral margins of the rostrum are mostly sub-parallel; (Ch. 42) the quadratojugal is robust, broadly separating the quadrate from the jugal (Fig. 13b & c); (Ch. 61) teeth are graded large to small caudally; (Ch. 68) the dentition is restricted to the prenarial rostrum; (Ch. 98) the pteroid is longer than half the length of the ulna (∼65% of the ulna in those with complete pteroids); and (Ch. 114) the prepubic plate (distal expansion) projects more posteroventrally than anterodorsally. In this cladogram Aurorazhdarchidae fam. nov. is the sister taxon to the Ornithocheiroidea + Azhdarchoidea, their most recent common ancestor and all of its descendants.

Bottom Line: P. scolopaciceps is found to be a valid taxon, but placement within Pterodactylus is inappropriate.Consequently, the new genus Aerodactylus is erected to accommodate it.A cladistic analysis demonstrates that Aerodactylus is distinct from Pterodactylus, but close to Cycnorhamphus Seeley, 1870, Ardeadactylus Bennett, 2013a and Aurorazhdarcho Frey, Meyer and Tischlinger, 2011, consequently we erect the inclusive taxon Aurorazhdarchidae for their reception.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Earth and Environmental sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
The taxonomy of the Late Jurassic pterodactyloid pterosaur Pterodactylus scolopaciceps Meyer, 1860 from the Solnhofen Limestone Formation of Bavaria, Germany is reviewed. Its nomenclatural history is long and complex, having been synonymised with both P. kochi (Wagner, 1837), and P. antiquus (Sömmerring, 1812). The majority of pterosaur species from the Solnhofen Limestone, including P. scolopaciceps are represented by juveniles. Consequently, specimens can appear remarkably similar due to juvenile characteristics detracting from taxonomic differences that are exaggerated in later ontogeny. Previous morphological and morphometric analyses have failed to separate species or even genera due to this problem, and as a result many species have been subsumed into a single taxon. A hypodigm for P. scolopaciceps, comprising of the holotype (BSP AS V 29 a/b) and material Broili referred to the taxon is described. P. scolopaciceps is found to be a valid taxon, but placement within Pterodactylus is inappropriate. Consequently, the new genus Aerodactylus is erected to accommodate it. Aerodactylus can be diagnosed on account of a unique suite of characters including jaws containing 16 teeth per-jaw, per-side, which are more sparsely distributed caudally and terminate rostral to the nasoantorbital fenestra; dorsal surface of the skull is subtly depressed rostral of the cranial table; rostrum very elongate (RI = ∼7), terminating in a point; orbits correspondingly low and elongate; elongate cervical vertebrae (approximately three times the length of their width); wing-metacarpal elongate, but still shorter than the ulna and first wing-phalanx; and pteroid approximately 65% of the total length of the ulna, straight and extremely thin (less than one third the width of the ulna). A cladistic analysis demonstrates that Aerodactylus is distinct from Pterodactylus, but close to Cycnorhamphus Seeley, 1870, Ardeadactylus Bennett, 2013a and Aurorazhdarcho Frey, Meyer and Tischlinger, 2011, consequently we erect the inclusive taxon Aurorazhdarchidae for their reception.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus