Pterosaur feet

It’s finished! In a previous version of this post I had mentioned that I still needed to make the ankle. I don’t. The tibia in adult pterosaurs is not only a fusion of tibia and fibula, but also of the proximal metatarsi called astragalus and calcaneum (the ankle bones). So I don’t have to make any proximal metatarsi (I took an hour to discover that looking at the tibia ends and diagrams of the metatarsi.)

Some bones are missing, and I might add them later. They are 1) five more sets of ribs (2 thoracical, 3 dorsal), 2) gastralia ribs and the 3) pre-pubis (which connect the pubis to the gastralia via cartilage).

I made de feet based on Tapejara and material from an undescribed Thalassodromid. They have the same proportions as Pteranodon, except that the nails of the Thalassodromid are larger. So I used Pteranodon (drawing by Wellnhofer) as a reference and made larger nails.


Here is how it will be assembled. I can’t yet connect it to the tibia bone because I still didn’t make the heel bones (distal metatarsi).


Oops! That’s the wrong end of the tibia!

Here are the two feet in their natural position. I will attach the bone with silicone rubber, but for now I am just going to test so I will connect them with pins.


Here you see two feet on the table near an Anhanguera skull and below some Tupuxuara claws 🙂

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The proximal tarsi (the ankle) are fused with the tibia (the whole bone is called tibiotarsus) so we don’t have to make them. But we do need to make the distal ones (the heel). I used Tapejara carpals (scaled for Tupuxuara) from an article about ankle structure (Kellner 2004). This is the side that connects to the metatarsals.

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And this is the side that faces down when the pterosaur stands.

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The five metatarsi connect to the two distal tarsi.

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Here are some pictures of the final results (the pins are temporary: I will later connect these bones with silicone rubber). This is the right foot.


This is the left foot.


A view of the ankle and heel bones (left foot).


Looking down from the top of the tibia (left foot).




Walking pterosaur.


More claws.


That’s it. In my next post I will publish several pictures of the Tupuxuara assembled in this position (I will assemble it in another position next week). Then I will unassemble it, weigh the skeleton and pack it. It will travel tomorrow to a paleontological conference in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

1 Comment

Filed under Pterosaur #5: Tupuxuara

One response to “Pterosaur feet

  1. Pingback: Making of a Tupuxuara | The Imaginary Pterosaur

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