Two interpretations of Samrukia as a bird

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.

Description[edit | edit source]

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).[1][2]

Classification and History[edit | edit source]

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.[3] 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.[4] Naish agreed with Buffetaut's reassessment, although he pointed out that Samrukia does not appear to be "just any old pterosaur."[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 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
  2. Naish, Darren (August 9, 2011). "Big birds in the Cretaceous of Central Asia: say hello to Samrukia". Tetrapod Zoology. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  3. 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.
  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
  5. Naish, Darren (January 25, 2012). "Happy 6th Birthday, Tetrapod Zoology (part II)". Tetrapod Zoology. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
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