sábado, 29 de novembro de 2008

Pterosaurs for Spec (part 2)

Part 1 is in my old blog


Demon Terrorsaur (Deinoapterosaurus robusta)

When the first sightings of this poorly understood beast occured, it was belived to be an aberrant carnocursorid that somehow got stuck on Sulawesi. However, when the first actual specimen was shot...er, "collected", specologists saw not a flightless azhdarchid, but something completly different and more interesting. Unlike the other flightless predatory pterosaurs, which are elegant, cursorial beasts with a hooked but toothless beaks, the demon terrorsaur truly deserves its name: it has a long snout armed with long, stabbing teeth; it is also ill suited for long term runnings, and as such it is an ambush predator, with short but powerfull legs that end in long clawed toes. With the size of a lion, it feeds on the several ornithopod species that live on its range, but doesn't hesitate to rip an explorer apart.

Its exact evolutionary relationships are unknown; genetic data seem to suggest that it diverged from other pterodactyloids in the late Jurassic, and it might be related to the ornithocheiroids. Fossils of appearent relatives of this creature showed up in Riversleigh; these possible ancestors are already suited for a terrestrial lifestyle, but still capable of flight. Nowdays, the wing finger was turned into a spur; its exact function is unknown.


The most diverse clade of living pterodactyloids, it includes the azhdarchids, the carnocursorids and one oddball species.

Tezcatlipoca (Aztecoptera sauroselenidera)

A close relative of azhdarchids, this pterosaur resembles the tapejarids, specially Sinopterus from Cretaceous China. It occupies a similar niche to that of the african and asian olitiaus, soaring above the canopy in search of fruits; its size, though small for a pterosaur (4 meter wingspan), its still to big for it to venture into the denser lower layers of the forest, leaving them to frugivore birds; exceptions occur, of course, in clearings on the forest, usually produced by pachamacs. Juveniles are mainly invertebrate eaters, and adults sometimes do kill birds and specworld bats.


A somewhat paraphyletic family, it was already present in the Cretaceous as forms like Quetzalcoatlus; by the Paleocene, they developed frugivore forms, and by the Oligocene, some returned to their grassland niches.

Fell Beast (Tolkienopteryx giganteus)

This pterosaur, the biggest modern flying one (as big as Quetzalcoatlus), occurs in the Americas. Big and with a bald head, the adults occupy a niche akin to that of HE's now extinct teratorns, feeding on both carrion and small animals. Juveniles often fly around adults, attacking viciously, alongside mistriders, swoops and juvenile avisaurs, the insects scared by the bigger pterosaurs.

Toth (Threskiosaurus theornis)

Ocurring in Eurasia, Madagascar and Africa, this pterosaur is brightly coloured; its pink fur colour probably derives from aquatic molluscs that consist up to 30% of its diet; this pterosaur prefers wetter environments than other azhdarchids. The juveniles of this specie, avid insect eaters, rest in huge flocks in the river banks, like HE's bee-catchers.

Australian Batard (Neoazhdarcho ophidophagus)

Living in Australia and New Guinea, occuring as a vagrant in New Caledonia and New Zealand, this pterosaur doesn't seem to be particularly closely related to the flightless pterosaurs that live in this area; it seems to have arrived from Asia in the Pliocene. As its scientific name suggests, it is quite notorious for attacking snakes, in a style akin to the St. George's Skreet and HE's secretary bird, by kicking the lepidosaur with its clawed feet.

Roc (Roc terriblis)

Occuring all over Eurasia and Africa, this is the pterosaur analogue to HE's vultures and to Spec's harpies and vulgures. It has a powerfull hooked beak like that of carnocursorids, though it evolved independently.

Dudu (Apterazdarcho neocaledonensis)

This flightless pterosaur resembles the flying azhdarchids, except that it lost the wing membranes (aside from a small flap of skin supported by the reduced wing finger, which replaced the now absent head crest as the main display organ). Incapable of flying, this creature literally eats everything that its beak allows, from small insects and lizards to fruit, carrion and even rath eggs; it occupies a niche roughly similar to that of a vulgure or a gluck. As soon as they born the flaplings climb to the trees like komodo dragons do in our world, in order to avoid the ravenous apetite of the adults; they are able to glide, as the wing membrane at this life stage is still quite big; only as they grow it becomes smaller, thus allowing them to have a fully terrestrial lifestyle.


In the Oligocene/Miocene boundary, Australia has lost all of its vertebrates larger than a dog. Such mass extinction seems to had been caused by an asteroid, though there is evidence of a long term decline of Australia's theropods before the extraterrestrial blow; in fact, right before the collision, the remaining theropods were all maniraptors (I'll later write an essay about that). In any case, Australia was devoid of predators by the Miocene; the only remaining theropods, alvarezsaurids, were too specialized into eating insects like ants and termites. Afterwards, cedunosaurs came from Asia, but it was already after Australia gained its new top predators, the first to challenge the theropod supremacy since the Triassic (if we ignore the large land crocs that evolved in the mean time). One of this groups steamed from ornithopoda: the saber-toothed rhyncoraptors. The other was derived from the azhdarchids that recolonised Australia after the bolide, which gave rise to the carnocursorids, or "terrorsaurs" (though unrelated to the already mentioned Jungle Terrosaur). In order to full fill this niche, they completly lost their wings, while their beaks became hooked like that of the roc. Historically they developed omniviorous forms akin to HE's dromornids and Spec's gobblers, though modern species are all carnivores.

(I think I'll leave individual species for you guys to decide)

New blog

I decided to make a new blog. Due to password problems