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Mike from North Queensland

Bird Or Pterosaur

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Mike from North Queensland

I processed some matrix today and found this small claw so I am interested to see what others think it is. The claw was found in the marine matrix from the Toolebuc formation that is a marine deposit that dates to the albian period in the cretaceous, about 100 million years ago of Australia it is found around Richmond in central Queensland. The scale in the photos is in half millimetres. the tip of the claw is broken of and what remains is about 5.5 mm long and about 1.2 mm wide. As the specimen is a claw I have eliminated the usual suspects of fish and marine reptiles so I am leaning more to the fly in type of suspect with bird and pterosaur the main contenders. I assume that due to the narrow width of this specimen the claws function is more to slice rather than to grip or scratch. Thanks in advance for looking and I hope some feed back. Comparative photos would be nice especially those of a better quality than I take.

Mike D'Arcy

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Troodon

Nice little foot claw. I always find identifying isolated tiny claws difficult because there is very little comparative material around, at least that I have. I do not think it's pterosaur their claws are very different. It looks like a miniature raptor claw so would lean toward it being a bird claw. Let see what others say.

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JohnJ

Mike, was the "matrix" of a 'pure' Albian sample, or was is from a mixed deposit? Nice find, either way. ;)

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Auspex

I'm hoping for more choices; it seems too complex for pterosaur, and too compressed laterally for bird. Definitely designed for more than perching!

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RichW9090

I think it is another one to send to Pat Rich.

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Ridgehiker

Nice little foot claw. I always find identifying isolated tiny claws difficult because there is very little comparative material around, at least that I have. I do not think it's pterosaur their claws are very different. It looks like a miniature raptor claw so would lean toward it being a bird claw. Let see what others say.

Agree.

If I was sorting through our local material and came across it, I would think 'little unknown raptor'. However, all of these terminal phalanges are difficult to identify in isolation. They serve a similar function among different vertebrate taxa and thus evolved similar shape.

Great specimen. It's always interesting to see finds from unique locales.

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Mike from North Queensland

Troodon Thanks for the input and in Australia there is even less comparative material so I am tending towards bird or very small theropod.

JohnJ The matrix is pure Albian from a lower level in a quarry from what I refer to as a layer of fish mash. This layer has also produced some nice shark and marine reptile teeth as well as turtle and ichthyosaur bones for me over the years as well as some bird material from a different section of the quarry.

Auspex The choices that I can come up with are limited and pterosaur seems to have been eliminated so raptor with a not so nice disposition.

RichW9090 I have sent the photos to Pat and will value her feedback.

Canadawest Small unknown raptor it is at the moment but it looks like I have some fieldwork to look forward to. Last claw I found resulted in me searching through an area of matrix until I had found half a dozen non marine bones with one that could be identified as bird. It was good until the bulldozer went through. Being marine the bones may not have spread too far as some complete fish were found directly under the mash layer, so not bad as if the animal had been laid in a stream environment.

Thanks all for your input

Mike D'Arcy

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rodrex

Hi Mike,

I agree with some of the other suggestions of a bird. Early Cretaceous bird fossils have been identified from Lighting Ridge, somewhat contemporaneous with the Toolebuc Formation.

Hope that helps

Rod

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Mike from North Queensland

rodex time will tell so my last trip I collected some more matrix from where the claw came from and another bag from near where I have previously found bird material. These and a couple of other bags of the fish mash layer will tie me over for the Australian summer for my macro searching. I have only been able to find vague references for most of the Lighting Ridge material. But on my last trip to Richmond I did see a complete humerus in the museum.

Mike D'Arcy

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Mike from North Queensland

I collected another claw that I believe is associated as it has come out of the matrix layer from the same spot as the other claw that I found nearly a year ago.

The consensus here and with the other palaeontologists I had shown photos of the claw to tended to bird / theropod due to the lack of comparative cretaceous material in Australia.

The matrix this comes out​ is from the bottom of a quarry so has not moved since the cretaceous. The larger claw that is from the first post is 5.5 mm long to give a scale.

The real question is with a second and a lot smaller claw from the same animal will this help with identification.

Mike D'Arcy

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Troodon

Mike great finds, congratulations. The larger claw does not fit the morphology of a theropod, the blood groove is all wrong. Your recent find looks different and I would come way saying it's from a different animal. Looks more like a theropod but also do not think it's one.

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