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Exposed on the rocky headland that projected out into the Tethyan Sea, the lone gingko tree swayed gently in a newly sprung breeze. The upper story of this storm-beaten old giant, now well into its third century, was still bearded with greenery, contrasting with the bare lower reaches, interrupted here and there by splintered stubs of long-lost branches. A perfect roost for the clusters of pterosaurs that clung to the patriarch's white trunk, bespattered with the droppings of uncounted generations. A harbinger of the gale to come, the freshening breeze clattered the (eaves and buffeted pterosaurs on the windward side of the tree, streaming out their manes or blowing them back over their heads. The short, fine pelt that ran from their shoulders to the base of the long tail had an iridescent, almost oily, sheen and was jet black, fading rapidly to gray on the flanks and becoming pure white underneath. This monochrome effect was mirrored by the brilliant white of the pelt around the eye, offset against the midnight black color of the rest of the head, and magnified by the mane that adorned the neck. Black at the base and pure white at the tips, its myriad thread-like strands, whipped and whirled by the rising wind, were becoming raveled and snagged in tufts and skeins.'

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