Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Pterosaurs are well known for their often elaborate crests. The first and perhaps best known of these is the distinctive backward-pointing crest of some Pteranodon species, though a few pterosaurs, such as the tapejarids and Nyctosaurus sported incredibly large crests that often incorporated keratinous or other soft tissue extensions of the bony crest base.
Since the 1990s, new discoveries and more thorough study of old specimens have shown that crests are far more widespread among pterosaurs than previously thought, due mainly to the fact that they were frequently extended by or composed completely of keratin, which does not fossilize as often as bone.[7] In the cases of pterosaurs like Pterorhynchus and Pterodactylus, the true extent of these crests has only been uncovered using ultra violet photography.[17][18] The discovery of Pterorynchus and Austriadactylus, both crested "rhamphorhynchoids", showed that even primitive pterosaurs had crests (previously, crests were thought to be restricted to the more advanced pterodactyloids).[7]"
"The crest is a prominent feature exhibited by several bird and dinosaur [and pterosaur] species on their heads. Fleshy crests are called cockscombs; this article discusses feather crests.
Generally used for display purposes, crests can be fixed or erectile, depending on the species. For example, Cockatoos and cockatiels possess crests which may be raised or lowered at will. Their crests are used to communicate with fellow members of their species, or as a form of defence to frighten away other species that approach too closely.
The crest is made up of semiplume feathers: a long rachis with barbs on either side. These are plumulaceous feathers, meaning that they are soft and bendable. In birds, these semiplumes are common along the head, neck, and upper back, and may be used for buoyancy and sensing vibrations."


  1. How is it scientifically sound to compare a crest made of feathers, to a crest made of bone. Completely different materials. might as well be comparing the heart to the colon.

  2. Take a look at the pictures in the post.
    Do you see what the author calls the "bony crest base" and what the author calls the "keratinous or other soft tissue extensions"?
    The keratinous or other soft tissue extension crest of the pterosaur became the feather crest of the modern bird. (Just as the complex fibres of the pterosaur wing membrane became the feathers of the modern bird wing.)