The Hummingbird of Pterosaurs.

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Nemicolopterus

Just announced today in the journal PNAS, is the discovery of the world’s smallest pterosaur. Dubbed: Nemicolopterus crypticus, this little guy had a wingspan of only 10 inches (25.4 cm). I haven’t had a chance to read the paper on it yet, but from the abstract, it appears to be a juvenile. I’d like to know how much larger the authours believe N.crypticus got.

Either way, this is big news for pterosaur researchers. It means that either:

  • A.) Pterosaurs covered a greater size range than previously thought, or…
  • B.) Pterosaur juveniles lived in different niches than adults.

Given the reptilian status of pterosaurs, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did turn out to be choice B. The large size discrepancy between adults and hatchlings / juveniles, often results in the formation of two size classes per species. This allows the animals to better exploit their given ecosystems.

Anyway, we’ll just have to wait for the paper, and see what the results suggest.

Still, it’s a mighty neat find.

~Jura

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