Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The Biddulph Grange Gardens Pterosaur

On a recent visit to Biddulph Grange Gardens I was looking at the progress in the geology gallery when I spotted a pterosaur skull on a cast of a lithographic limestone slab.  This was a pterosaur fossil that I had not been aware of.  After contacting the grange, I was put in touch with Daniel Atherton, who is part of the restoration project responsible for the refurbishment of the Geological Gallery.  I was invited to inspect the original slab which was recorded as a fish fossil due to the presence of a number of fish remains visible.
Amongst the fish jaws was an unmistakable skull of Pterodactylus antiquus, with a few associate post cranial bones.
The skull and one half of the mandible are associated with a wing metacarpal, coracoid and humerus. The end of the premaxilla has become dislodges and most of the teeth are separated from the jaw.  The posterior skull is also broken and part of the basal skull is displaced to another part of the slab with the cervical spine.
On the edge of the slab is what appears to be a wing bone association.  On original inspection I glossed over this part of the slab.  On closer examination, this represents the cervical spine and basal skull, with a scapula at one end and the other side of the mandible at the other.  Two fish bones are seen to line up with this associated group of pterosaur bones to give the impression of a pterosaur wing.
The fossil is stored away from the public, but a cast of this slab can be seen in the Geology Gallery at Biddulph Grange Gardens, Staffordshire.
This fossil was collected in Victorian times, but there is no record of the source.  It has only recently been found to contain pterosaur material.  More information will follow as it becomes available.

Checzh language translation

 

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