Thursday, 6 July 2017

Wukongopterus Lii

The "Dinosaurs of China" exhibition is now open at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham.  This is an exceptional chance to see some of the most important fossil finds from China at first hand.  The most interesting specimen for me was not the immense casts of the large sauropod and raptor dinosaurs, but the last fossil in the display - The pterosaur Wukongopterus lii.
This specimen is held in a glass case with the reflections of the hall showing on any photograph, but visually, the detail of this fine fossil can be seen.

The magic of direct photography brings the full detail of the specimen to view.  Previously I have only seen drawings and press images of this fossil.  To see the complete specimen is stunning.

This is a basal pterosaur from the Daohugou Beds of Liauning Province.  This is the Holotype - IVPP V-15113.  It is one of the earliest forms of its type from the Late Jurassic, showing similarities with other earlier forms like Darwinopterus.

For me, The exhibition was worth seeing for this one specimen.

 Wang X., Kellner A. W. A., Jiang S. and Meng X., 2009, An unusual long-tailed pterosaur with  elongated neck from western Liaoning of China. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 81 (4): 793–812.

 Another interesting fossil is that of Yi qu, a modest sized feathered dinosaur with a bird like skeleton and what appears to be a bat like wing.  This unusual anatomical structure poses questions about its lifestyle.
 Of course, the largest specimen is the Mamenchisaurus hochuanensis which is 23m long and mounted upright to enable it to fit into the main hall gallery.  Wow!

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