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Article: A survey of pathologies of large pterodactyloid pterosaurs

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 46
Part: 1
Publication Date: January 2003
Page(s): 185 198
Author(s): S. Christopher Bennett
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How to Cite

BENNETT, S. 2003. A survey of pathologies of large pterodactyloid pterosaurs. Palaeontology46, 1, 185–198.

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Examples of four types of pathologies have been found on specimens of large pterodactyloid pterosaurs. Osteoarthritis of the intersyncarpal, carpometacarpal, or metacarpophalangeal joints, indicated by grooving of the articular surfaces in the direction of joint motion, is present on at least four pterosaur specimens from the Cambridge Greensand. This pathology has not been found in Pteranodon despite comparably large samples of specimens. Pteranodon most commonly exhibits deformed bones and lumps apparently resulting from injury, necrosis, and subsequent repair. A small number of pathological bone growths apparently not associated with injuries were found, as were healed fractures of a fourth wing phalanx and a pedal phalanx. The absence of healed fractures of other elements suggests that they were either uncommon or catastrophic and fatal. This study suggests that pathologies were not uncommon in large pterosaurs.
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