EXQUISITE Solnhofen Pterosaur Wing with Preserved Membrane
Rhamphorynchus muensteri

Rhamphorynchus muensteri

Class Sauropsida, Order Pterosauria, Family Rhamphorynchidae

Geological Time: Late Jurassic, Kimmeridgian Stage (~150 million years old)

Sizes (25.4mm=1 inch):
Wing (claws to tip); 355 mm
Wing Membrane: 244 mm by 35 mm (as preserved)
Foot 35 mm by 17 mm wide
Tibia: 42 mm
Femur: 33 mm
Radius and Ulna: 65 mm each
Humerus: 37 mm by 17 mm wide
Matrix: 560 mm by 340 mm

Fossil Site: Solnhofen Plattenkalk, Eichstatt, Germany

Fossil Code: AAF590

Price: $8950.00


Description: This spectacular fossil comes from the lithographic limestone Solnhofen deposits of Germany. These 150 million year old deposits are famous for their exceptionally well-preserved organisms, the most famous of which are the handful of specimens of the ancient bird Archaeopteryx. The specimen shown here was a contemporary of Archaeopteryx, both temporally and spatially: a Pterosaur, or flying reptile, known as Rhamphorynchus muensteri. Some 200-300 specimens of this creature are known, ranging form “flaplings” with a wingspan of 300 mm to old adults in excess of 1.5 meters across. There are 5 named species of Rhamphorynchus from Solnhofen, but recent research has shown them to be an ontogenic series of one species: R. Rhamphorynchus Pterosaurmuensteri. This one would have had a wingspan of almost 1 meter. The elongated 4th (“pinkie”) finger in pterosaurs formed the anchor for the wing membrane, or Cheiropatagium, which extended from the wing tip to the foot. The toe which served as an anchor in the foot is preserved here pointing away to the right. A second membrane, the Protopagium, extended from the arm at the claws to the neck, while a final membrane, the Cruropatagium, extended from foot to the tail. These surfaces when coupled with the rudderlike tail of Rhamphorynchus afforded a highly-maneuverable flyer thought to have been capable of flight almost immediately after hatching. Nearly all of the bones involved in the flying process are at least partially preserved in this museum-quality example, the first I have been able to offer in 7 years. There may be further bones preserved in the “bump” in the matrix at about the 7 o’clock position relative to the foot. A single matrix repair can be seen running longitudinally to the right of the wing claws with a fine crack running diagonally from the lower left to the right. I recently obtained this one from an old collection, and seriously doubt that I will be able to ever replace it.

Fossils Purchase

click to enlarge

Entire Fossil
Foot Leg Bones and Wing with Preserved Membrane
Claws
Upper Arm
Wing
Wing tip


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