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 is associated with a wing metacarpal, coracoid and humerus.  The upper mandible is obscured by the presence of a fish jaw.  The posterior skull is also broken and part of the basal skull is displaced downwards.
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 dorsal spine and sacrum, with caudal vertebrae at one end and a thoraxic vertebra 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.

 

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