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April 11, 2008
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Raeticodactylus filisurensis by Archosaurian Raeticodactylus filisurensis by Archosaurian
UPDATE: What I thought were basal tail vertebrae are in fact dorsal vertebrae, as denoted in the original description. The confusion was resolved with a higher quality photo I recently found.

Introducing the mind-bogglingly bizarre new pterosaur from the Swiss Alps! Behold Raeticodactylus filisurensis! Prepare to be boggled!

Note: There is some suspicion it might belong to Caviramus, an equally weird pterosaur genus known only from bits of lower jaw, but what an odd little jaw it is! After looking at both taxa it seems that the two are generically distinct, but they likely are very close relatives, belonging to the same unnamed clade of ultra-weird basal pterosaurs.

I'm also a bit uncomfortable about how the legs are positioned, the legs in this thing appear to have been completely erect as opposed to outward-facing in other pterosaurs so it may not have had the range of motion necessary to spread the legs out in flight as in other pterosaurs. Still, it likely had a uropatagium since there is a fragmentary specimen of a pterosaur with a similarly structured leg that preserves impressions of one.
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:iconalpha-dilophosaurus:
Alpha-Dilophosaurus Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
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:iconorionide5:
Orionide5 Featured By Owner May 18, 2013
This must be the long-tailed "ornithocheiroid" frequently seen in dinosaur movies! ;)
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:iconjohnfaa:
JohnFaa Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2009  Student Writer
I pretty much think their claims that it was a skimmer are rubish. It doesn't really look like Rhynchops that much
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:icononyxsoulclaw:
Onyxsoulclaw Featured By Owner May 14, 2008
I love it, you always amaze me with your outstanding quality. I bet this one had some heavy neck/shoulder and spinal musels.To carry it's heavy skull, Is it me or are there less air pockets (sorry cant remember the proper name).
Great work please keep it up and happy drawing.
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:iconarchosaurian:
Archosaurian Featured By Owner May 15, 2008
Thanks!
It depends what you mean by "air pockets", pterosaurs had a complex pneumatic system involving air sacs and hollow bones. I suspect you are referring to the fenestrae of the skull, which do seem to be fairly small in comparison to the rather robust skull.
Unfortunately nothing of the shoulder girdle is known so there really is little we can know about the musculature of this creature, but it does teem interesting that while the skull and neck vertebrae are rather heavily built, the dorsal vertebrae appear quite small in comparison to the cervical vertebrae.
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:icononyxsoulclaw:
Onyxsoulclaw Featured By Owner May 15, 2008
yay that the word "fenestrae". I just wish there could be more complete finds with clear marks on the bones of where the musels and tendons were, Though guessing is fun to. Oh and by the way your not a pointless information provider, it's great to have some one of your outstanding class around, so please take care, and i look foward to you next pic.
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:iconnyctopterus:
nyctopterus Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
Nice job. Question about the leg positioning; if the sacrum is missing, how can we come to any conclusion about it's splitsability?

(No I haven't read the paper and I don't have time today...)
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:iconarchosaurian:
Archosaurian Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
Thanks!

The pelvis and sacrum would have to be quite different from those seen in typical pterosaurs and while that is not unlikely, I had some trouble envisioning what a pelvis for Raeticodactylus that allowed for the typical range of motion in pterosaurs would be like given what is known of other pterosaurs.

It is mostly an issue of discomfort with what I have reconstructed here, but the only thing that can be done about that is wait for some discovery that clarifies things.

Some people are already saying that it used its parasagittal legs to grab fish and that it didn't have a uropatagium. Silly, I say.
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:iconnyctopterus:
nyctopterus Featured By Owner May 1, 2008
I think that even with the femoral head turned 90 degrees most pterosaur hips would not dislocate at horizontal. Maybe I should check that out more thoroughly.
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:iconapeman505:
apeman505 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
You do amazing work! This guy is awesome, he looks like a cross between a can opener, dimorphidon, and a blue dragon from DnD. That nasal projection is so classy, and the bottom jaw just looks viscious. The little toes' configuration looks totally uncomfortable though, I wince at it. :P

What do you mean when you say the phrase 'basal pterosaurs?'
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