Samrukia was a large archosaur, most likely a pterosaur, that was originally thought to be one of the largest terrestrial birds in the Mesozoic. The only known specimen was found in Cretaceous deposits in Kazakhstan.
As Samrukia is known only from a single lower jaw, it is not known with certainty its anatomical details. When it was thought to be a bird, two size estimates were brought up: a wingspan of about 4 meters (if it could fly) or a height of around 2 to 3 meters (if it was terrestrial).
Classification and History
At first, the single jaw was believed to come from an oviraptorosaur dinosaur, but it was then analyzed to be part of the bird lineage Ornithuromorpha. If Samrukia was a bird, if would be of the same size and stature as Gargantuavis, a large, terrestrial bird from France. The fossil was described as Samrukia nessovi by Darren Naish and Gareth Dyke in August 2011.
However, later that year its identification as a bird was challenged by Eric Buffetaut, who pointed out that the avian characteristics of Samrukia were also found on pterosaurs. Naish agreed with Buffetaut's reassessment, although he pointed out that Samrukia does not appear to be "just any old pterosaur."
- Darren Naish, Gareth Dyke, Andrea Cau, François Escuillié and Pascal Godefroit (2012). "A gigantic bird from the Upper Cretaceous of Central Asia". Biology Letters 8 (1): 97–100. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0683. Published online August 10, 2011
- Naish, Darren (August 9, 2011). "Big birds in the Cretaceous of Central Asia: say hello to Samrukia". Tetrapod Zoology. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2011/08/09/say-hello-to-samrukia/. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
- Buffetaut, E. & Le Loeuff, J. (1998). "A new giant ground Bird from the Upper Cretaceous of southern France." Journal of the Geological Society, 155: 1-4.
- Buffetaut, E. (2011). "Samrukia nessovi, from the Late Cretaceous of Kazakhstan: A large pterosaur, not a giant bird." Annales de Paléontologie, 97(3–4): 133–138. doi:10.1016/j.annpal.2011.10.001
- Naish, Darren (January 25, 2012). "Happy 6th Birthday, Tetrapod Zoology (part II)". Tetrapod Zoology. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2012/01/25/happy-6th-birthday-tetrapod-zoology-part-ii/. Retrieved February 22, 2012.