Short Communication

Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 89, Issue 4, pp 180-184

A new giant pterosaur with a robust skull from the latest Cretaceous of Romania

  •  E. BuffetautAffiliated withCentre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 16 cour du Liégat, 75013 Paris, France
  • ,  D. GrigorescuAffiliated withLaboratory of Palaeontology, Faculty of Geology and Geophysics, University of Bucharest, bd. N Balcescu no. 1, 70111 Bucharest, Romania
  • ,  Z. CsikiAffiliated withLaboratory of Palaeontology, Faculty of Geology and Geophysics, University of Bucharest, bd. N Balcescu no. 1, 70111 Bucharest, Romania

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Abstract.

A new giant pterosaur, Hatzegopteryx thambema, nov.gen., nov.sp., from the Maastrichtian Densuş-Ciula Formation of Romania is remarkable for its very large size (estimated wing span ≥12 m) and for the robustness of its large skull, which may have been nearly 3 m long. The stout skull bones contrast with the usually thin and slender skull elements of other pterosaurs, and raise the question of how the weight of the skull was reduced in order to make flight possible. The answer probably lies in the very peculiar internal structure of the bones, which consists of a dense network of very thin trabeculae enclosing small alveoli. This structure is reminiscent of expanded polystyrene and, like it, probably combined strength with lightness.