(Beautiful one of Brunn).
Named By: David W. E. Hone, Helmut Tischlinger, Eberhard Frey and Martin Röper - 2012.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Pterosauria, Rhamphorhynchidae, Rhamphorhynchinae.
Species: B. rothgaengeri (type).
Size: Wingspan just under 30 centimetres across, though certainly larger when adult.
Known locations: Germany, Brunn Quarry.
Time period: Kimmeridgian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Articulated and complete skeleton from a probably juvenile individual.
first glance the holotype specimen of Bellubrunnus
was considered to
have been an example of the famous pterosaur
though a closer study of the specimen soon came to the conclusion that
it actually represented a unique genus. The skull of Bellubrunnus
been noted for being proportionately short with large eyes, though
these are common proportions of juvenile pterosaurs that are still
growing. The lack of fusion in other areas of the skeleton also
supports the notion that the Bellubrunnus holotype
is of a juvenile.
This means that adult Bellubrunnus would have not
only been larger,
but probably had different facial proportions too.
The teeth in the jaws of Bellubrunnus are long, thin and splay outwards to the sides and front of the mouth, a dental arrangement that is quite common in rhamphorhynchid pterosaurs. These would have increased the ‘catch area’ to make it easier to snatch prey like fish from the water. It should be noted though, that while fish are the most likely prey for Bellubrunnus, given the form of teeth and relationship to similar pterosaurs, large insects might have also been taken on the wing. All together there were twenty-two pairs of teeth in the mouth, though details about how many pairs were divided between upper and lower jaws is still uncertain.
Bellubrunnus is noted for having a very flexible tail thanks to the short chevrons and zygapophyses of the caudal (tail) vertebrae. This is notably different to many other rhamphorhyncoid genera which had stiff tails held rigid by caudal vertebrae that overlapped one other. However it would be interesting to see if the tail of Bellubrunnus remained flexible in adult life or if the caudal vertebrae changed form to overlap each other and make the tail rigid like in relative genera. The flexibility of the tail of the holotype specimen of Bellubrunnus may be left over from time spent developing in the egg when the tail would need to be flexible enough to curl around the interior of the egg.
The wings of the Bellubrunnus holotype are also noted as curving backwards at the phalanx (analogous to your hand). This would give Bellubrunnus an unusual shape of wing for a pterosaur that may have enhanced in flight manoeuvrability. However, it is still unknown if adult Bellubrunnus had similar wing proportions, or if again the swept back wing was a throwback to developing in the egg.
Bellubrunnus means beautiful one of Brunn and is a reference to the Brunn limestone quarry where the holotype specimen was found. A further interesting note is that the Brunn quarry is seen as being similar to the famous Solnhofen Limestone quarry which has yielded uncountable remains of pterosaurs and other creatures such as fish and marine organisms. The type species name, B. rothgaengeri, is in honourof Monika Rothgaenger who found the holotype specimen.
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