Hamipterus

Name: Hamipterus.
Phonetic: Ham-ip-teh-rus.
Named By: Xiaolin Wang,‭ ‬Alexander W.A.‭ ‬Kellner,‭ ‬Shunxing Jiang,‭ ‬Qiang Wang,‭ ‬Yingxia Ma,‭ ‬Yahefujiang Paidoula,‭ ‬Xin Cheng,‭ ‬Taissa Rodrigues,‭ ‬Xi Meng,‭ ‬Jialiang Zhang‭; ‬Ning Li‭ & ‬Zhonghe Zhou‭ ‬-‭ ‬2014.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Pterosauria,‭ ‬Pterodactyloidea,‭ ‬Ornithocheiromorpha,‭ ‬Lanceodontia,‭ ‬Anhangueria,‭ ‬Hamipteridae.
Species: H.‭ ‬tianshanensis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Piscivore.
Size: Wingspan of larger individuals up to‭ ‬3.5‭ ‬meters.
Known locations: China,‭ ‬Xinjiang.
Time period: Early Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Remains of multiple individuals.‭ ‬Soft tissue remains and eggs are also known.




       Ancient animals,‭ ‬especially pterosaurs are often known from only a few bones,‭ ‬and then often poorly preserved.‭ ‬The pterosaur Hamipterus however is very different.‭ ‬Not only is the complete animal known,‭ ‬but fossil remains of dozens,‭ ‬maybe even hundreds‭ ‬have been discovered.‭ ‬These include soft tissue impressions and eggs.‭ ‬This has all come from the fact that was found was not one random pterosaur here and another there,‭ ‬but a complete nesting colony that was buried under a mudslide back in the Cretaceous.
       The discovery of this nesting colony has led to a few revelations about pterosaurs.‭ ‬In the case of the Hamipterus‭ ‬genus,‭ ‬the full growth pattern of the pterosaur can be established.‭ ‬The crest on top of the snout grew progressively more forwards as the individual reached maturity.‭ ‬The crest also developed more prominent ridges.‭ ‬Most telling though was that both males and females had crests on their snouts,‭ ‬though the crests on males are notably larger.‭ ‬This is hard evidence that the theory‭ ‬that only male pterosaurs had crests cannot apply to the whole pterosaur group.‭ ‬Maybe it could still apply to some pterosaur genera,‭ ‬but certainly not to Hamipterus.‭
       Scans of embryos within eggs also show that when baby pterosaurs hatched,‭ ‬they could not fly straight away at the moment of hatching,‭ ‬their bones are just too poorly developed for that.‭ ‬Juvenile Hamipterus thigh bones however are already well adapted for walking,‭ ‬indicating that while baby Hamipterus could not fly,‭ ‬they could still amble about.‭ ‬The observations that so many fossils of adults and eggs were found together is seen as proof that pterosaurs did not just abandon eggs,‭ ‬but reared their young until they could be independent.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Sexually dimorphic tridimensionally preserved pterosaurs and their eggs from China.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Current Biology.‭ ‬24‭ (‬12‭)‬:‭ ‬1323‭–‬1330.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Xiaolin Wang,‭ ‬Alexander W.A.‭ ‬Kellner,‭ ‬Shunxing Jiang,‭ ‬Qiang Wang,‭ ‬Yingxia Ma,‭ ‬Yahefujiang Paidoula,‭ ‬Xin Cheng,‭ ‬Taissa Rodrigues,‭ ‬Xi Meng,‭ ‬Jialiang Zhang‭; ‬Ning Li‭ & ‬Zhonghe Zhou‭ ‬-‭ ‬2014.
-‭ ‬Egg accumulation with‭ ‬3D embryos provides insight into the life history of a pterosaur.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Science‭ ‬358‭(‬6367‭)‬:‭ ‬1197‭–‬1201.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Xiaolin Wang,‭ ‬Alexander W.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Kellner,‭ ‬Shunxing Jiang,‭ ‬Xin Cheng,‭ ‬Qiang Wang,‭ ‬Yingxia Ma,‭ ‬Yahefujiang Paidoula,‭ ‬Taissa Rodrigues,‭ ‬He Chen,‭ ‬Juliana M.‭ ‬Say„o,‭ ‬Ning Li,‭ ‬Jialiang Zhang,‭ ‬Renan A.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Bantim,‭ ‬Xi Meng,‭ ‬Xinjun Zhang,‭ ‬Rui Qiu‭ & ‬Zhonghe Zhou‭ ‬-‭ ‬2017.



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