Reconstructing A Fossil Pterosaur

Elder, Nathan R. Farragut Career Academy

Objectives: 1. Reconstruct the skeleton of Scaphognathus crassirostis. 2. Make inferences about the mode of locomotion, feeding habits, and adaptations of Scaphognathus crassirostis. Apparatus needed: l. Scissors 2. Transparent tape 3. Metric ruler Instructional strategy: 1. Introduce the Animal Kingdom-Birds, Evolution, Habitats, and characteristics Worksheet. 2. Discuss the Geologic Calendar Worksheet. 3. Discuss Early History, Paleozoic: Life Leaves the Sea. Pass out fossils showing stems. 4. Discuss Early History, Mesozoic: Mammals Emerge, Reptiles Reign: Amphibian Modern Skeleton Reptilian Modern Skeleton Aves Modern Skeleton Mammalian Modern Skeleton Recommended strategy: 1. Phenomenological approach - pass out envelopes containing bones of Scaphognathus crassirostis. 2. Direct students to assemble the skeleton in twenty minutes. Review Questions: 1. What is the main function of the bones that make up Scaphognathus crassirostis's little finger? 2. List three features of S. crassirostis's skeleton that the animal was adapted to flying. 3. The fossil of S. crassirostis was found in limestone that formed in a warm sea-water lagoon. What could you infer were the feeding habits and food of this animal? 4. S. crassirostis's wings were made of a delicate flap of skin. If this flap of skin tore, the animal could not fly. Use this information to explain how S. crassirostis might have had trouble competing with bird species living during the Mesozoic Era. 5. Explain how the protruding fingers of the middle of the wing might have been used to clutch the edges of the cliffs from which the Pterosaur glided. 6. Explain how once a scientist has reconstructed a skeleton, the scientists can use this and other information to infer the appearance and habitat of the animal, since such a picture or model is called a RESTORATION.
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