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Hamipterus

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Description

A couple of overly dramatic Hamipterus tianshanensis, a newly described pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of what is now China.

At least 40 individuals of Hamipterus, and a few eggs, were found, which instantly makes it one of the best known pterosaurs. Among them, there are bigger individuals with big, showy head crest, and smaller ones with smaller crests. The researchers suggest the big ones are males and the small ones females. This would suggest a promiscuous mating system with intense competition between males, perhaps lekking or harems.

It can't be, at least yet, ruled out that the animals are simply of different ages. Or, the big ones might actually be females, if the species has a reversed mating system or some other aspect of their biology favoured big females (or small males). It's not as common as the other way around, but in no way unheard of either.

In any case, an awesome discovery.

The description paper is open access, and can be found here: www.cell.com/current-biology/a…

Dave Hone also wrote a nice article about Hamipterus on The Guardian: www.theguardian.com/science/lo…
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MonOreo717's avatar

what a nice looking couple, good color selection too!