Dorygnathus bathensis

Dorygnathus bathensis (*)

Fossil range: 190 Ma
Early Jurassic
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Rhamphorhynchoidea
Family: Rhamphorhynchidae
Genus: Dorygnathus
Wagner, 1860

Dorygnathus banthensis
(Theodori, 1830) Wagner, 1860 (Type)
Dorygnathus mistelgauensis Wild, 1971

Dorygnathus ("spear jaw") was a genus of pterosaur that lived in Europe during the Early Jurassic period, 190 million years ago when shallow seas flooded much of the continent. It had a relatively short 1 meter (3 ft) wingspan, and a correspondingly small triangular sternum, which is where its flight muscles attached. Its skull was long and its eye sockets were the largest opening therein. Large curved fangs that "intermeshed" when the jaws closed featured prominently at the front of the snout while smaller, straighter teeth lined the back.[1] Having variable teeth, a condition called heterodonty, is rare in modern reptiles but common in dinosaurs and primitive pterosaurs.[citation needed] The heterodont dentition in Dorygnathus is consistent with a piscivorous (fish-eating) diet.[1] The fifth digit on the hindlimbs of Doryganthus was unusually long and oriented to the side. Its function is not known, but the toe may have supported a membrane like those supported by its wing-fingers and pteroids. Dorygnathus was related to the Late Jurassic pterosaur, Rhamphorhynchus and was a contemporary of Campylognathoides in Holzmaden and Ohmden.[1]


The first remains of Dorygnathus were discovered in 1830 near Banz, Bavaria. The "isolated bones and jaw fragments" were sent later to a professor of paleontology in Munich named Andreas Wagner. It was he who identified them as belonging to a new genus of pterosaur, which he formally named Dorygnathus in 1860. More complete remains have been found since in other German locales including Holzmaden, Ohmden, Zell, and especially Wurttemberg. Dorygnathus fossils are sometimes found in the spoil heaps where unusable rock is dumped by local mining operations.[1]

See also

* Campylognathoides
* Holzmaden
* List of pterosaurs
* Rhamphorhynchus


1. ^ a b c d "Dorygnathus." In: Cranfield, Ingrid (ed.). The Illustrated Directory of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures. London: Salamander Books, Ltd. Pp. 292-295.



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