The Zittel Wing

A specimen of a single pterosaur wing from the Bavarian State Collection was examined by Karl Alfred von Zittel.  The specimen of a Rhamphorhynchus wing from the Lithographic Limestone of Solenhofen was published in 1882.  This is questionably the best preserved ptagium of any pterosaur.

This specimen showed the overall shape and width of the wing clearly and the shape was much narrower that that estimated by O. C. Marsh from his work on Rh. phyllurus, published in the same year.  The wing fibrils were clearly distinguishable on this specimen, giving a clear indication of how the structure of the wing was strengthened and shaped for flight.

von Zittel K. A., 1882, Über Flugsaurier aus dem lithographischen Schiefer Bayerns. Paläontographica 29, 47–80 & pls 10–13.

Karl Alfred von Zittel (1839-1904) was Professor of Geology and Palaeontology at the Bayerische Staatsamlung at München (Bavarian State Collection at Munich).  Under his supervision, the museum became one of the most important fossil collections in Europe.

1. The Background

2. 1873 - Rhamphorhynchus phyllurus

3. 1882 - The Zittel Wing

4. 1971 - Sordes pilosus

5. 1975 - The Vienna Specimen

6. 2002 - Jeholopterus

7. 2002 - The Dark Wing

8. Wing membrane structure

9. Examples of other specimens


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