The Function of the Cranial Crest and Jaws of a Unique Pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil

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Science  19 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5580, pp. 389-392
DOI: 10.1126/science.1073186

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The discovery of a previously undescribed pterosaur, Thalassodromeus sethi, yields information on the function of cranial crests and the feeding strategy developed by these extinct flying reptiles. The material consists of a large skull (length: 1420 millimeters, including the crest) with a huge bony crest that was well irrigated by blood vessels and may have been used for regulation of its body temperature. The rostrum consists of two bladelike laminae, the arrangement of which is analogous to the condition found in the bird Rynchops, which skims over the water to catch food, indicating that T. sethialso may have been a skimmer.

  • * The authors are fellows at Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientı́fico e Tecnológico and associate researchers at the American Museum of Natural History.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E- mail: kellner{at}

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