Wikipedia:WikiProject Palaeontology/Pterosaurs task force

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Welcome to the Pterosaurs task force page, which aims to act as a reference and assessment point for articles about pterosaurs on Wikipedia. It is a task force (subproject) of WikiProject Palaeontology. This page will help interested editors gather better information and articles on pterosaurs. Important tasks always include expanding and cleaning up articles, adding taxoboxes and standardising all articles.


The current status of all pterosaur articles is as follows:


Tasks include the following, in no particular order:

Useful links[edit]

  • Paleontology stubs - containing some pterosaurs articles needing expansion. (Approximately 700 as of September, 2006.)
  • List of pterosaurs - Exhaustive list of all pterosaurs, in alphabetical order.

Criteria for inclusion[edit]

Articles should not get any more specific than genus level. Individual species should be discussed in the article about the appropriate genus. "Significant" higher order taxa should also get their own pages.

Article titles[edit]

The titles of all articles about individual genera should be composed simply of the scientific generic name (see next section), except where the name is preoccupied.

The titles of all articles about higher level taxa should consist of the common name of the group (see next section), with a redirect for the formal scientific name, or vice versa. This way both formal and common names will lead to the same article.

Pterosaur taxa names[edit]


When a species is mentioned (on its own page or another), the scientific binomial name should at least be mentioned once. After this, the genus name or common name can be used.

Do not use common names too much, they look amateuristic. If you use them, realise that you are referring to the genus, or to an order ending on -ia. For example, pterodactyl can be used for Pterodactylus or for Pterodactyl. Even more informally it can refer to the family, as equivalent to pterodactyloid. Inconsequential use confuses the reader.


Best use common names, as they may be pluralised in English : e.g. 45 pterodactyls, but never 45 pterodactyluses.

Don't pluralise scientific (Latin) names in an English way: Quetzalcoatluses is wrong. Quetzalcoatluses is correct, but now you are meaning several species belonging to the genus Quetzalcoatlus, some of which you don't recognize. It may sound strange, but "Sarah is attacked by lots of Quetzalcoatlus and 3 Pterodactylus" is the correct way. The same applies to pluralising binomial names: "John was stampeded by a large herd of Quetzalcoatlus northropi and 5 Pterodactylus suprejurensis". There is no change. Don't use binomials in this case unless you want to confer that the identification of the species is very important.

Higher order taxa[edit]

The formal names of all groupings higher than genus are capitalised, never italicised. If fitting the situation, common names are preferable. These are in lowercase.


"Dsungaripterus is a genus of Pterosaur" sounds a lot better than "Dsungaripterus is a sauropsid genus belonging to the Pterosauria". The same applies to other higher-order taxa.

Note that a pterodactyl belongs to the genus Pterodactylus, while a pterodactyloid belongs to the family Pterodactylidae.


Primary References[edit]

The best source for accurate information on pterosaurs is the primary literature, where original research is published. After you get a basic feel for the terminology, it becomes possible to learn by immersion by reading articles and trying to piece together what the authors are saying. A big problem, however, is access. Finding a copy of a journal can be difficult, and making copies can really add up. Subscriptions are usually obscenely expensive because most of these journals have pretty low circulation. So how do you get a hold of technical papers?

Most scientific journals now offer PDFs of their articles online. Unfortunately, you are usually required to subscribe to the journal, pay a bunch of money, or go to a library that subscribes to the journal in order to access them. If you do live near a university or public library, it is not a bad idea to find out what journals they subscribe to and then spend a few hours in the library downloading PDF files and emailing them to yourself... it's a lot cheaper than making copies. However, if you don't have that kind of time or don't live near a major library, there are still a lot of places to find papers online for free, which some of you may already know about. But I'll list some of the ones I know about here:


  • The American Museum of Natural History Digital Library provides free PDF copies of all four of their major publications. They are working to have every single issue from beginning to end.
  • The Polish journal Acta Paleontologica Polonica also provides free PDF access to all issues dating back to 1997 on their website. Although the journal is Polish, all articles are in English.
  • The French journal Geodiversitas commonly publishes paleontology articles. The website provides free PDF copies of all articles back to the beginning of 2000.
  • A special edition of the Portuguese journal Gaia Archived 2011-09-17 at the Wayback Machine was released in 2000, although all the articles date from 1998. These articles are available for free online in PDF format.
  • Science, perhaps the most prestigious American science journal, now allows free web access to all research articles more than 12 months old, to anyone who registers on their website (and is willing to receive a few emails). Articles are in PDF format and date back to 1997.
  • The Royal Society of London is a scientific organization that publishes several journals. All articles in all journals are made freely available online in PDF format twelve months after publication. Of these journals, dinosaur articles are most commonly published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
  • If you go to the online archives of many major journals, some provide a few PDFs as samples, usually of more recent issues. Digging through these sites is also a way to net the occasional free article.

Individual Researchers[edit]

  • S. Christopher Bennett has a number of his publications available as PDFs here.
  • Ken Carpenter of the Denver Museum of Natural Sciences has most of his papers online at his webpage Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Some, but not all, are just PDFs of photocopies, the downsides of which are that quality is not that great sometimes, and they are not searchable by text, but it's definitely better than nothing.
  • The Lusodinos site, run by Portuguese paleontologist Octavio Mateus, has PDF copies of many of his papers, which usually involve Portuguese fossils. (A DinoData satellite, so requires registration (free))
  • Lawrence Witmer of Ohio University includes a list of his publications on his faculty page Archived 2013-09-09 at the Wayback Machine, some of which are available in PDF format.
  • Several papers authored by Robert Sullivan of the State Museum of Pennsylvania are available in PDF format on his personal website.

Other Sites[edit]

  • This site has free web access to recent issues of a lot of journals. Right now they only have the 2006 issues of Ameghiniana, a very important journal from Argentina, but hopefully in the future they will add more. The Revista Geologica de Chile has some articles online as well, back to 1997. Not too many dinosaur papers in this one, although here is the description of Rinconsaurus. Both of these journals are only available in HTML format, not PDF, which means you can't reference specific page numbers, but all the text and figures are there.
  • This site has issues of Paleobiology and Journal of Paleontology archived online, but apparently they are not in PDF format, and don't provide any figures.
  • Not all articles are in English, so The Polyglot Paleontologist can be very useful to English speakers. Free online English translations of many papers originally written in Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French are available, many in PDF format. However, sometimes there are no images, and because they are not the original copy, you can't reference the original page numbers.

I'm sure other people know of other places to get articles. Please add them to the appropriate section above, as long as they are legal. Google searches or searching for "pdf" on the Archives of the Dinosaur Mailing List might also nab you some more.