The Archaeopteryx that was neither Archaeopteryx nor Pterodactylus – #365papers – 2018 – 2

Foth and Rauhut, 2017, Re-evalutation of the Haarlem Archeopteryx and the radiation of maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs: BMC Evolutionary Biology, v. 17, 236.

What’s it about?

Archeopteryx is a fossil theropod that is known only from limestones of Bavaria, Germany. The Haarlem specimen is incomplete. Initially, it was thought to be a pterosaur, then was later discovered to be a dinosaur and assigned to the genus Archaeopteryx. The authors here show that though it is a dinosaur, it is actually not Archeopteryx and name a new genus, Ostromia.

Why does it matter?

By naming a new species, in fact a whole new group of dinosaurs, the authors can draw conclusions about the global distribution of dinosaurs related to Ostromia (and to Archeopteryx) which will help us better understand dinosaur evolution.

Why did I read this?

Archaeopteryx is cool. Plus the paleobiogeographic twist (about the global distribution about groups of fossil dinosaurs) was interesting to me. This paper might show up in my vertebrate paleontology course this spring.

Published by paleololigo

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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