The Zitteliana pterosaur special


Long-time readers will recall my few articles about the Peter Wellnhofer pterosaur meeting [see links below], held at the Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie (Bavarian State Palaeontological Collection - BSPG) in Munich in 2007. The meeting, organised by Dr Dave Hone, was attended by most of the world's pterosaur workers, and was planned to be the first in a series of regular events (the next pterosaur meeting is due for 2010, and will be held in Beijing).

The plan back in 2007 was to produce a special tribute volume of the BSPG's in-house technical journal (Zitteliana) devoted entirely to pterosaurs: that is, containing contributions from the researchers who attended. Most of these contributions would represent published versions of the talks and posters presented at the meeting. The good - albeit very, very belated - news is that this volume did come to fruition, and was published way back in December 2008. It's Zitteliana Series B, Vol. 28, titled 'Flugsaurier: Pterosaur Papers in Honour of Peter Wellnhofer'. Now is the time to order it, unless you've done so already. It's VERY cheap (comparatively). Needless to say, it's a must-have for anyone interested in pterosaurs, or indeed in Mesozoic reptiles or the evolution of flying tetrapods in general.

Several papers are particularly worthy of note and deserving of special mention. Among the most useful is a compendium of pterosaur occurrences from around the world. Produced by Paul Barrett and colleagues, it conforms in style with the dinosaur distribution chapter of The Dinosauria and should serve as a primary research tool for studies on pterosaur distribution and diversity. At least one study (Butler et al. 2009) has already employed it (any others?). Mark Witton's paper on mass estimates is also particularly good (and the fact that Mark is a personal acquaintance and colleague of mine is completely irrelevant), as is Mike Habib's analysis of possible quadrupedal launch behaviour. One new name is coined: Uktenadactylus Rodrigues & Kellner, 2008. This is for the Texan ornithocheirid originally described as Coloborhynchus wadleighi Lee, 1994. Papers on pterosaur ichnology, egg structure, phylogeny, origins and taxonomy are also included. A full listing of the contents was provided here by Dave Hone [title slide of my BSPG talk shown below: I couldn't produce a manuscript in time for the volume, unfortunately].


It's worth stating again: anyone with a serious interest in pterosaurs, or in vertebrate flight or Mesozoic reptiles in general, really must get a copy. So... how do you get it? Back when the volume was first available it couldn't be ordered online - a pretty surprising and anachronistic state of affairs in 21st century western Europe... unfortunately this still seems to be the case: there's no webpage that takes online orders (the journal's homepage is here, but doesn't include Vol. 28 in the list of issues that can be ordered!). But all is not lost - all you need to do is email Andreas Trenkle (, and let him know that you want to pay online.

Again I'll note that the volume is very cheap: 29 Euros (not including postage costs), which is equivalent to $43 or so, or £26 if you're British. It's also attractive, with a very high production quality and a pretty cover (shown at top). The print-run for the issue is small, and it is likely that, once the word really gets out, stocks will be rather limited, so I recommend that you act now.

Finally, my honest apologies to Dave Hone (and to everyone else involved) for the unbelievable delay in my posting of this advert/review. I blame the rest of Tetrapoda. Except geckos.

PS - I only just remembered that I submitted an article on the BSPG pterosaur meeting to Palaeontological Association Newsletter. Does anyone know if this ever got published - if so I haven't seen it.

For previous Tet Zoo articles on pterosaur see...

Ref - -

Butler, R. J., Barrett, P. M., Nowbath, S. & Upchurch, P. 2009. Estimating the effects of the rock record on pterosaur diversity patterns: implications for hypotheses of bird/pterosaur competitive replacement. Paleobiology 35, 432-446.


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Darren, many, many thanks for the promo.

I would add for any readers that the BSPG expects to make a loss on this volume, which such a small institute can barely afford, so you are not just getting the volume, but helping research if you buy this. Even if you have a copy or don't need it, why not badger your library into getting a copy and make it avilable to the whole university? (Hint, hint).

Thanks again and see you (all) in Beijing next year!

the BSPG's in-house technical journal (Zitteliana)

Named, unless I'm much mistaken, after the paleontologist Karl Alfred von Zittel (1839-1904).

How long will it be until there's a journal named Naishiana (or would it be Naisheana)?

You may want to alert your readers that ordering the Zitteliana volume is not straightforward as the publisher does not accept credit cards. I tried unsuccessfully.

By Hans Sues (not verified) on 27 Nov 2009 #permalink

I have written an email to the address provided by Dave (and you in this post) four times now, and have *never* gotten a response! This is not an isolated problem I've had with German publishers either...

I do know there have been issues with ordering and while obviously there's only so much I can do about it (since I'm not the editor or owner of Zitteliana, and nor am I the publisher or distributor of the volume, or in charge of any of those people) but I have been onto the BSPG last week and passed on the messages that volumes are not been sold so hopefully things will improve.

By Dave Hone (not verified) on 27 Nov 2009 #permalink


Is there anyone else we can contact? Like someone at the BSPG?

I mainly posted my comment because Darren made it sound like it was a cinch to purchase the volume - wanted to make people aware that it is not this easy. Maybe if I was fluent in German?

Sorry - I was under the impression that it was a cinch. Well, at least the red flag has now been well and truly raised (I hope).

Randy: I have contacted the BSPG on your behalf wrt the comment you left on my blog a while back and was told that they would be in touch with Trenkle to make sure he was getting your e-mails and would reply. As for a separate line onto the volumes, sorry, but sadly not. The situation is that the BSPG farms out both the printing and distribution to an independent company and then profits etc. come back to the via this, so they do not control their own journal. Which obviously is a problem with something like this and despite my efforts and that of the main editor, Michael Krings, we have not managed to make things any easier sadly.

Monado: the volume is varied. I'm sure the stuff on basic distribution and taxonomy would be well within the grasp of any interested party, but obviously some of the heavy stuff on flight mechanics and so on are pretty heavy going. In short, you should get a fair bit from the volume I suspect. More details are on my blog.

By Dave Hone (not verified) on 28 Nov 2009 #permalink