Sordes pilosus

In 1971, Sharov published a paper on an unusual pterosaur from the Late Jurassic sediments of Kazakhstan in what was then Soviet Russia (CCCP).  This was a Rhamphorhynchoid type pterosaur with a partially preserved wing membrane.  The specimen, PIN 2585/3, is now in the Palaeontological Museum Akademia Nauk, Moscow.

The membrane of the wing was also associated with structures interpreted as body hairs.  There has since been a debate about whether the hairs were actually hair or whether they were partially decomposed wing fibrils.

The wing hairs were called picnofibrils and they were found to be longer at the tips of the wing membrane and short near to the body.

Sordes is now considered to be a basal member of the rhamphorhynchoidea, showing quite a few primitive features.

Sharov A. G., 1971, Novyiye lyetayushchiye reptili iz myezozoya Kazakhstana i Kirgizii. [New flying reptiles from the Mesozoic of Kazakhstan and Kirghizia.] Trudy paleont. Inst. Moscow 130, 104–113. Russian text with end plates.

Bakhurina N. N. and Unwin D. M., 1995, The evidence for "hair" in Sordes and other pterosaurs. J. Vert. Paleont. 15(3, Suppl.): 17A

Unwin, D. M. and Bakhurina N. N., 1997, The significance of soft tissue preservation for understanding the palaeobiology of pterosaurs. J. Morph. 232, 333

Aleksandr Grigorevich Sharov  is a Russian Palaeoentomologist and Palaeontologist with a specialist knowledge of fossil pterosaurs.


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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