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Anurognathus in flight

By Paleo-King
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Anurognathus ammoni - the DEFINITIVE version.

This is the first truly high-fidelity restoration of Anurognathus anywhere, taking into account the rigorous skeletals done by Mike Hanson, a.k.a. Archosaurian: [link] [link]

The main difference is I shortened and thickened the neck a little bit, the fossil specimens don't seem to show such a long neck.

Anurognathus was a very small Late Jurassic pterosaur of the Rhamphorhynchoid clan.... unlike most members of this group, it had a very reduced, stubby tail that was useless as a rudder, but probably served as an attachment point for either wing membranes or leg membranes - a configuration that was echoed by the entirety of the Pterodactyloids, the other great clan of pterosaurs.

It was mainly an insect eater and probably lived in trees. One popular theory is that it hitched a symbiotic ride on the backs of giant sauropods like Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, eating the bugs that sucked their blood. Its strange whiskers may have been used for sensing very small disturbances in air flow caused by flying insects, or simply for raking them in towards the needle-sharp teeth.

Anurognathus had three very close relatives: Batrachognathus, Dendrorhynchoides, and Jeholopterus, the largest member of the Anurognathidae. All three were small and insectivorous. More distant relatives include the far older Dimorphodon and Peteinosaurus - both of which had large, puffin-like beaks and the primitive long tails typical of classic Rhamphorhynchoids. Anurognathus is known from both an adult and a juvenile specimen, a rare find for most species of small pterosaurs.

Pencil on paper, 8.5x11", 2009.
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© 2009 - 2021 Paleo-King
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12monkehs's avatar
This must be the work of an 『E N E M Y    S T A N D U 』
TheDubstepAddict's avatar
Donate to UNICEF now
TrilobiteCannibal's avatar
I know this is really old.... but seriously wheres the beef
TheDubstepAddict's avatar
Donate to UNICEF now
TheDubstepAddict's avatar
An organization helping kids in aftica
Philoceratops's avatar
Sorry to say, but its HEAVILY shrink-wrapped, and I would also recommend putting more pycnofibers...
Paleo-King's avatar
you do realize how old this picture is, right?
bhut's avatar
One of the smallest pterosaurs ever!
DavidPeters's avatar
PS the Hanson links are now broken, several years after your initial post.
DavidPeters's avatar
I echo some of Conway's thoughts and disagree with others. First, your rendering has great spark and life. You have most of the proportions right and morphology right, which is to your credit in today's world of experts steering us the wrong way. The legs are right, but the feet should be as long as the tibia. The free fingers are correctly oriented (palmar down) but the claws need to be much larger. The the medial tip of the curved pteroid should point directly at the deltopectoral crest when stretched in full flight.

I've been reexamining Anurognathus over at and lately, so I have evidence for what I'm saying here over there. The antorbital fenestra is longer and taller than the orbit. The neck is longer. The top half of the neck appears to dive into the matrix in situ. Like other anurognathids, this one probably had four wing phalanges, as Döderlein noted. They are hard to see. If you would reduce the chord of the wing so that the wing is stretched between the elbow and wing tip, then you've solve all sorts of engineering and folding problems, plus you'll duplicate the wing shape in all known pterosaur specimens. I agree with Conway about the musculature, concentrate it proximally. The Anurognathus fur covering is not nearly as fuzzy as in Jeholopterus, which is fuzzy for a non-thermal reason. With wing membranes preserved, there should be more pycnofibers, but there aren't.

I do like your technique. We're all learning, from the fossils and each other.
Philoceratops's avatar
Dear David Peters, 
I was wondering if you could create a PDF of all your skeletals, as well as life reconstructions of them as well. I'd love to see your beautiful work in acrylics again, as I have read and cherished ALL of your books (GIANTS, Strange Creatures, and A Gallery of Dinosaurs are my favorites!). I've always wanted to tell you this, as you're one of my FAVORITE paleoartists (besides William Stout, who told me was your friend!)
Your fan,
Leonardo C. Gomez
Paleo-reptiles's avatar
Why did Dr. Sankar Chatterjee disagree with quad-launch posture?
Teratophoneus's avatar
its so awesome. I like how the wings look a little bit transparent, thats an awesome feature :D
Algoroth's avatar
Such a darling little creature! Reminds me of some of my friends-nag, nag, NAG!!!! Quite an excellent drawing! Is he looking for one of these? -----> :halfliquid:
cryptidsaurian's avatar
may I ask, how you get the affect you do with pencil? it looks a bit like what g.s. paul does, but not quite the same either.
Paleo-King's avatar
I use mechanical pencils, usually holding them at an angle to "soften" the contact. I do basic shading first, then cast shadows, then color patterns and skin textures, whether they be scaly or hairy. A few tiny blotches here and there add the "natural imperfection" look.

This one was done on printer paper, now I use heavy paper which has more texture and is more eraser-friendly.
cryptidsaurian's avatar
interesting, any specific type of pencil work better than others?
Paleo-King's avatar
Mechanical HB's with 0.5 leads. Pick ones with a decent grip. I used to use 0.7 but now it's just a pain in the butt as it requires constant "friction sharpening" to make fine enough lines for some of my uses. Brand doesn't matter, as long as it's one of the well known ones like Bic or Sanford. Stay away from cheap imported Vietnamese leads (nothing against the Vietnamese, I just know from experience that they have awful mechanical leads that break and smear like soot when touched, and they are NOT "HB" as they are advertised).

Nobody else I've heard of even uses mechanicals for their dinosaurs, and it's downright rebellion by the wood-shaving standards of most art schools. So I'm a bit of a rogue when it comes to technique and I developed my own method without outside influence, whatever my drawings might seem to resemble. Other paleo-artists haven't even touched on the use of mechanicals for paleo-art. Not Greg Paul, not anyone. It takes patience to master, but yields far more consistent results and less frustration than traditional pencils.
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