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Anurognathus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Order Pterosauria
Family Anurognathidae
Subfamily Anurognathinae
Genus Anurognathus
1st Species Anurognathus ammoni
Other attributes
Time Range 150.8-148.5 mya
Location Germany
Name Meaning Tailless jaw
Physical Dimensions 35 centimeter wingspan
Dietary Classification Carnivore
Anurognathus is an anurognathid pterosaurian reptile from the Late Jurassic of Germany. It was named in 1923 by Ludwig Döderlein. It was a very unique primitive pterosaur, as it had a body plan different from that of its relatives.

PhysiologyEdit

Despite being more closely related to primitive pterosaurs such as Rhamphorhynchus, Anurognathus looked less like a reptilian bird and more like a flying frog. It had 4 legs (2 of which served as wings), 4 fingers on each hand (one of which was elongated and supported the wing membrane), a small body, an extremely short tail, and a large, ball-shaped head with large jaws and huge eyes. All of its body (even including its wings) would have been covered in a fur-like covering called pycnofibers.

DietEdit

Anurognathus was a predator, preying on insects. Its small yet sharp teeth were used to pierce through prey, and its large maw was used to devour its food whole.

EcologyEdit

Despite being a rhamphorhynchoid, Anurognathus' tail was incredibly short compared to those of its distant cousins; this may have given it better maneuverability through the air as it hunted insects. Its broad wings were once thought to be long, helping it fly at fast speeds; however, a later study found out that the wings were shorter than presumed, and were also just for making it more mobile. As well as this, Anurognathus sported pycnofibers that extended across the edge of its wings; these would serve to muffle the pterosaur's wingbeats, similar to the softened edges of an owl's flight feathers. A comparison of its sclerotic rings to those of modern reptiles and birds indicates that it was crepuscular; this would have benefitted the animal, as a fellow insect-eating pterosaur, Scaphognathus, was active during daylight hours, and would have competed with (and possibly preyed on) Anurognathus if it weren't for the restriction of the latter's activity to twilight hours.

In popular cultureEdit

Anurognathus was featured in the 2nd episode of the 1999 documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, where it was depicted as living an oxpecker-like lifestyle of landing on the backs of Diplodocus and eating insects that sat there as well (as opposed to the real animal's nightjar-like lifestyle of snatching insects out of the air). It appeared again in a science fiction TV series, Primeval, where it is depicted as an aerial version of the Compsognathus from Jurassic Park; it is incredibly vicious, and it swarms prey (usually humans) in large flocks like piranhas.

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