Monday, July 30, 2012

[Paleontology • 2010] Alanqa saharica • A New Pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea: Azhdarchidae) from the Upper Cretaceous of Morocco

Alanqa saharica above Mawsonia lungfish
(artwork by Davide Bonadonna)

The Kem Kem beds in South Eastern Morocco contain a rich early Upper (or possibly late Lower) Cretaceous vertebrate assemblage. Fragmentary remains, predominantly teeth and jaw tips, represent several kinds of pterosaur although only one species, the ornithocheirid Coloborhynchus moroccensis, has been named. Here, we describe a new azhdarchid pterosaur, Alanqa saharica nov. gen. nov. sp., based on an almost complete well preserved mandibular symphysis from Aferdou N'Chaft. We assign additional fragmentary jaw remains, some of which have been tentatively identified as azhdarchid and pteranodontid, to this new taxon which is distinguished from other azhdarchids by a remarkably straight, elongate, lance-shaped mandibular symphysis that bears a pronounced dorsal eminence near the posterior end of its dorsal (occlusal) surface. Most remains, including the holotype, represent individuals of approximately three to four meters in wingspan, but a fragment of a large cervical vertebra, that probably also belongs to A. saharica, suggests that wingspans of six meters were achieved in this species. The Kem Kem beds have yielded the most diverse pterosaur assemblage yet reported from Africa and provide the first clear evidence for the presence of azhdarchids in Gondwana at the start of the Late Cretaceous. This, the relatively large size achieved by Alanqa, and the additional evidence of variable jaw morphology in azhdarchids provided by this taxon, indicates a longer and more complex history for this clade than previously suspected.

Reconstructed jaws of Alanqa saharica compared to other azhdarchids. A) Holotype specimen (mandibular symphysis) of Alanqa saharica (FSAC-KK 26) matched with one of the referred rostra, BSP 1993 IX 338. B) Skull outline of the azhdarchid Zhejiangopterus linhaiensis, modified from Unwin and Lü (1997) and Witton and Naish (2008). C) Lower jaw of Quetzalcoalus sp., redrawn from Kellner and Langston (1996), specimen TMM 42161-2.

Ibrahim, N., Unwin, D.M., Martill, D.M., Baidder, L. and Zouhri, S. 2010. A New Pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea: Azhdarchidae) from the Upper Cretaceous of Morocco. PLoS ONE. 5(5): e10875. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010875

[Paleontology • 2003] Phosphatodraco mauritanicus • A new azhdarchid pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous phosphates of Morocco

Phosphatodraco mauritanicus 
Pereda-Suberbiola, Bardet, Jouve, Iarochène, Bouya & Amaghzaz 2003

Phosphatodraco (meaning "phosphate dragon", in reference to the phosphates of Morocco, the country where it was found) is a genus of azhdarchid pterodactyloid pterosaur from a late Maastrichtian-age Upper Cretaceous portion of the Oulad (or Qualad) Abdoun Phosphatic Basin, Grand Doui, near Khouribga, central Morocco.

A comparison of Quetzalcoatlus cervical vertebrae on the left with the Phosphatodraco holotype on the right

Pereda-Suberbiola, Xabier; Bardet, N., Jouve, S., Iarochène, M., Bouya, B., and Amaghzaz, M. 2003. A new azhdarchid pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous phosphates of Morocco. In Buffetaut, E., and Mazin, J.-M. (eds.). Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society of London, Special Publications, 217. London: Geological Society of London. pp. 80–90. ISBN 1-86239-143-2.

[Paleontology • 2008] Volgadraco bogolubovi • A New Late Cretaceous Azhdarchid (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) from the Volga Region, European Russia

Volgadraco bogolubovi 
by ~Olorotitan on @deviantART 

A new azhdarchid genus and species, Volgadraco bogolubovi gen. et sp. nov., is described based on an anterior fragment of the mandibular symphysis (mandibular beak) and some postcranial elements from the Rybushka Formation (Upper Cretaceous, Lower Campanian) of the Shirokii Karamysh 2 locality, Saratov Region. The new taxon is intermediate in size and vascularization of the mandibular beak between mediumsized Turonian–Santonian azhdarchids (Azhdarcho, Bakonydraco) and the giant Maastrichtian azhdarchid Quetzalcoatlus.

Key words: Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae, new taxa, Cretaceous, Saratov Region, Russia.

 Averianov, A.O.; Arkhangelsky, M.S.; and Pervushov, E.M. 2008. A New Late Cretaceous Azhdarchid (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) from the Volga Region. Paleontological Journal. 42 (6): 634–642. DOI:10.1134/S0031030108060099.

[Paleontology • 2007] Aralazhdarcho bostobensis • New records of azhdarchids (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) from the late Cretaceous of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia

Aralazhdarcho bostobensis sp. nov. from the Bostobe Formation (Santonian–Lower Campanian) of the Shakh-Shakh locality, Kyzylorda Region, Kazakhstan

A review of 12 azhdarchid localities in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan is given. New records of unidentifiable azhdarchids from the Khodzhakul (Cenomanian), Tyul’keli (Turonian–Coniacian), Kansai (Santonian), Malaya Serdoba, and Beloe Ozero (Campanian) localities and a new taxon, Aralazhdarcho bostobensis gen. et sp. nov. (Shakh-Shakh, Santonian–Campanian), are described.

Key words: Azhdarchidae, Pterosauria, Late Cretaceous, Russia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia.

Order Pterosauria
Suborder Pterodactyloidei
S u p e r f a m i l y  Azhdarchoidea Nessov, 1984
Family Azhdarchidae Nessov, 1984

Genus Aralazhdarcho Averianov, gen. nov.
Etymology.  From the Aral Sea and the genus Azhdarcho Nessov, 1984

Averianov, A.O. 2007. New records of azhdarchids (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) from the late Cretaceous of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia. Paleontological Journal. 41 (2): 189–197. DOI:10.1134/S0031030107020098.

[Paleontology • 1984] Azhdarcho lancicollis • Pterosaur (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) from the Late Cretaceous of Uzbekistan

Azhdarcho lancicollis
Nesov, 1984

Averianov, A.O. 2010. The osteology of Azhdarcho lancicollis Nessov, 1984 (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) from the Late Cretaceous of Uzbekistan. Proceedings of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 314(3): 246-317.

Nesov, L. A. 1984. Upper Cretaceous pterosaurs and birds from Central Asia. Paleontologicheskii Zhurnal, 1984(1), 47-57.

[Paleontology • 2005] Bakonydraco galaczi • First evidence of azhdarchid pterosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Hungary

New remains of an azhdarchid pterosaur were discovered from the Upper Cretaceous (Santonian) Csehbánya Formation at the Iharkút vertebrate locality in the Bakony Mountains, western Hungary. Among the isolated bones, consisting principally of 21 symphyseal jaw fragments, four cervical vertebrae, a right radius, and some fragmentary limb bones, is a complete articulated mandible that represents one of the best−preserved mandibular material of any presently known azhdarchid pterosaur. The complete edentulous jaw, referred to Bakonydraco galaczi gen. et sp. nov. posesses several features diagnostic for azhdarchids which prove that Bakonydraco belongs to this group. The cervical vertebrae exhibit azhdarchid features and consequently are referred to as Azhdarchidae indet. The discovery of these fossils helps to understand the construction of the azhdarchid mandible and provides new insight for studying the feeding style of the
edentulous azhdarchid pterosaurs.
Key words: Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae, mandible, cervical vertebrae, Cretaceous, Hungary.

Pterosauria Kaup, 1834
Pterodactyloidea Plieninger, 1901
Azhdarchoidea Unwin, 1992
Azhdarchidae Nessov, 1984 (emend. Padian 1986)

Genus Bakonydraco nov.
Type species: Bakonydraco galaczi described below.

Etymology: The generic name derives from name of the Bakony Mountains where the locality is situated and from the Latin draco = dragon.

Bakonydraco galaczi sp. nov.
Holotype: MTM Gyn/3, nearly complete mandible (Fig. 2).

Etymology: In honour of professor and adviser András Galácz who helped us in the Iharkút Research Program.

Type locality: Iharkút, Veszprém County, Bakony Mountains, Transdanubian Range, western Hungary.
Type horizon: Csehbánya Formation, Upper Cretaceous (Santonian; Knauer and Siegl−Farkas 1992).
Paratypes: MTM Gyn/4, 21 symphyseal fragments of the dentary.

Ösi, Attila; Weishampel, David B.; and Jianu, Coralia M. 2005. First evidence of azhdarchid pterosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Hungary. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 50 (4): 777–787.  

[Paleontology • 2002] Hatzegopteryx thambema • A new Giant azhdarchid pterosaur with a robust skull from the terminal Cretaceous of Transylvania (western Romania)

Art: Fall down mountains, just don't fall on me

A new giant pterosaur, Hatzegopteryx thambema, nov.gen., nov.sp., from the Maastrichtian Densuy-Ciula Formation of Romania is remarkable for its very large size (estimated wing span S12 m) and for the robustness of its large skull, which may have been nearly 3 m long. The stout skull bones contrast with the usually thin and slender skull elements of other pterosaurs, and raise the question of how the weight of the skull was reduced in order to make flight possible. The answer probably lies in the very peculiar internal structure of the bones, which consists of a dense network of very thin trabeculae enclosing small alveoli. This structure is reminiscent of expanded polystyrene and, like it, probably combined strength with lightness.

Derivatio nominis: Generic name from the Hatzeg (or Hat¸eg) basin of Transylvania, where the type specimen was collected, and pteryx, Greek for wing. Specific name from thambema, Greek for monster, alluding to the monstrous size of this pterosaur

Buffetaut, E., Grigorescu, D., and Csiki, Z. 2002. A new giant pterosaur with a robust skull from the latest Cretaceous of Romania. Naturwissenschaften. 89(4): 180-184. 

Buffetaut, E., Grigorescu, D. and Csiki, Z. 2003. Giant azhdarchid pterosaurs from the terminal Cretaceous of Transylvania (western Romania), Geological Society, London, Special Publications 217: 91-104. DOI: 10.1144/​GSL.SP.2003.217.01.09

[Paleontology • 1995] Montanazhdarcho minor • an azhdarchid pterosaur from the Two Medicine Formation (Late Cretaceous, Campanian) of Montana.

The wing skeleton of the Campanian azhdarchid pterosaur Montanazhdarcho minor Vidian et al. 1995 is described and compared to other Cretaceous pterosaurs. It is distinguished from all other known azhdarchids by its small mature size, among other characters. Notable features include elongated cervical vertebrae with weak neural crests, a ring-like pectoral girdle, and an unwarped deltopectoral crest that is 30% of the length of the humerus. The ulna is slightly longer than the wing metacarpal, and the articular surface of the radius lacks a central pneumatic foramen. The wing metacarpal has a rounded dorsal condyle but there is no median ridge between the distal condyles. The mandible is edentulous, further support is given to the reduced distal expansion of the deltopectoral crest as an azhdarchid svnapomorphv. 

Padian, K., Horner, J.R., and de Ricqlès, A.J. 1993. A new azhdarchid pterosaur from the Two Medicine Formation (Late Cretaceous, Campanian) of Montana, identified on the basis of bone histology. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 13: 52A
K. Padian, A. J. de Ricqlès, and J. R. Horner. 1995. Bone histology determines identification of a new fossil taxon of pterosaur (Reptilia: Archosauria). Comptes Rendus de l’Academie des Science, Serie II (320): 77-84.
McGowen, M.R.; Padian, K.; de Sosa, M.A.; Harmon, R.J. 2002. Description of Montanazhdarcho minor, an azhdarchid pterosaur from the Two Medicine Formation (Campanian) of Montana. PaleoBios. 22 (1): 1–9.

[Paleontology • 1959] Arambourgiania philadelphiae • One of the world's largest flying animals: (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea)

Image copyright Joe Tucciarone

Genus: Arambourgiania Nesov et al., 1987
Species: A. philadelphiae (Arambourg, 1959) (type)
Synonym: Titanopteryx Arambourg, 1959 (preoccupied)

Arambourgiania is a pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of Jordan. It was one of the largest members of this group.

Arambourg, C. 1959. Titanopteryx philadelphiae nov. gen., nov. sp. Ptérosaurien géant. Notes Mém. Moyen-Orient. 7: 229–234
Frey, E. & Martill, D.M. 1996. A reappraisal of Arambourgiania (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea): One of the world's largest flying animals. N.Jb.Geol.Paläont.Abh. 199(2): 221-247
Martill, D.M., E. Frey, R.M. Sadaqah & H.N. Khoury. 1998. Discovery of the holotype of the giant pterosaur Titanopteryx philadelphiae Arambourg 1959, and the status of Arambourgiania and Quetzalcoatlus. Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Paläontologie. Abh. 207(1): 57-76

Friday, July 27, 2012

[Paleontology • 1994] Zhejiangopterus linhaiensis • a new pterosaur from Upper Cretaceous in Linhai, Zhejiang, China

The text describes a new genus and species of pterosaur from Late Cretaceous sediments around the municipality of Linhai, Zhejiang Province: Zhejiangopterus linhaiensis gen. et sp. nov. which morphologically approaches Nyctosaurus from the Upper Cretaceous Santonian Stage of Kansas, in the U.S. The new taxon is thereby assigned to the family Nyctosauridae.

via ~eurwentala @ DeviantArt

Cai, Z., and Wei, F. 1994. On a new pterosaur (Zhejiangopterus linhaiensis gen. et sp. nov.) from Upper Cretaceous in Linhai, Zhejiang, China. Vertebrata Palasiatica, 32: 181-194.

Unwin, D. & Lü J. 1997. On Zhejiangopterus and the relationships of Pterodactyloid Pterosaurs. Historical Biology, 12, p. 200 DOI:10.1080/08912969709386563

A summary of recent studies on the interrelationships of pterodactyloid pterosaurs is used as a framework for reassessing the taxonomic status of Zhejiangopterus, a new, long‐necked, Late Cretaceous pterosaur from China that has been assigned to the Nyctosauridae. Characters cited in support of this decision include: a notarium, edentulous jaws, and lack of a cranial crest. However, none of these is diagnostic of the Nyctosauridae. Zhejiangopterus exhibits a number of derived characters (orbit relatively small and located in a low position, posteroventrally facing occiput, features of the humerus and ‘T‐shaped’ cross‐section of wing phalanges two and three) only otherwise found in azhdarchids, thus we propose that Zhejiangopterus be reassigned to the Azhdarchidae.

Key words: Pterosaur, Zhejiangopterus, Taxonomy, Phylogeny, Cretaceous, China

Monday, July 23, 2012

[Paleontology • 2005] Eoazhdarcho liaoxiensis • New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Western Liaoning

A nearly complete skeleton with a lower jaw of pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of western Liaoning is described and assigned to a new genus, Eoazhdarcho gen. nov. The new genus is characterized by a relatively small size, the ratio of the length to width of the middle series cervical vertebrae approximately 3.5 and the ratio of humeral length to femoral length approximately 0.96. The humerus of Eoazhdarcho shows great resemblances to that of previously described Azhdarchidae, so it is assigned to the family Azhdarchidae.

Keywords: Eoazhdarcho; Azhdarchidae; Early Cretaceous; Liaoning Province

Fig. 1 . (a) Euuzhdarchu liuoxiensis (GMN-03-11-002) gen. et sp. nov.; (b) Lower jaw 

Lü, J., and Ji, Q., 2005, New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Western Liaoning. Acta Geologica Sinica. 79 (3): 301-307.

[Paleontology • 2011] Aurorazhdarcho primordius • The oldest azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Late Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone (Early Tithonian) of Southern Germany

Aurorazhdarcho primordius n.gen. n.sp., holotype (NMB Sh 110)

Based on an almost complete three-dimensionally preserved skeleton, a new genus and species of an azhdarchoid pterosaur Aurorazhdarcho primordius n.gen. n.sp. from the Late Jurassic Solnhofen limestone (Early Tithonian) of the Eichsta¨tt area (Bavaria, Germany) is described. Furthermore, a new family the Protazhdarchidae is proposed. The specimen is attributed to the Azhdarchoidea based on its glenoid fossa level with the sternum, the shovel-like shape of the sternal plate, the wide furca of the coracoid, the metacarpus being longer than radius and ulna, the femur being 1/3 longer than the humerus, the femorotibial ratio, and the hammer-shaped humerus among other diagnostic features. Under UV-light, soft tissue preservation around the external mould of the head is visible. It consists of tiny flakes possibly remnants of skin. The dorsally curved outline of the external mould of the head suggests the presence of a cranial crest. The new species is the oldest record of the azhdarchoid pterosaurs. It supports the Eurasian origin of this group that includes the largest flying animal ever.
Keywords: Azhdarchoidea, Pterosauria, Soft tissue preservation, Tithonian, Southern Germany

Reconstruction of Aurorazhdarcho primordius n.gen. n.sp in ventral aspect. The asterisks indicate the body parts that are reconstructed from the soft tissue patch and the external moulds

Systematic palaeontology
Pterosauria KAUP 1834
Azhdarchoidea UNWIN 1995

Protazhdarchidae nov. fam.
Aurorazhdarcho n.gen.
Aurorazhdarcho primordius n.sp.

Derivatio nominis: Genus name from Latin aurora = dawn and Kirgisian azhdarcho = dragon; species name from Latin primordius = the earliest

Holotypus: A single articulated skull- and neckless specimen housed in the Natural History Museum Basel
(Switzerland) under the collection number NMB Sh 110 (Figs. 2, 3)

Locus typicus: Blumenberg Quarry near Eichsta¨tt (Bavaria, Germany; Fig. 1) 

Stratum typicum: Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone (Upper Eichsta¨tt Formation, Late Jurassic, Lower Tithonian, Hybonotum Zone; Schweigert 2007).

Fig. 3 Aurorazhdarcho primordius n.gen. n.sp., holotype (NMB Sh 110).a. Under UV light with luminescent soft tissue traces;b. line drawing of the skeleton and the soft tissue preservation as seen under UV-light. Scale bar 50 mm

Eberhard Frey, Christian A. Meyer and Helmut Tischlinger. 2011. The oldest azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Late Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone (Early Tithonian) of Southern Germany. Swiss Journal of Geosciences. 104 (Supplement 1): 35–55. 
the issue entitled "Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Lithographic Limestone and Plattenkalk"

[Paleontology • 2008] Nemicolopterus crypticus • Discovery of a rare arboreal forest-dwelling flying reptile (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from China


A previously undescribed toothless flying reptile from northeastern China, Nemicolopterus crypticus gen. et sp. nov., was discovered in the lacustrine sediments of the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation, western Liaoning, China. The specimen consists of an almost complete articulated skeleton (IVPP V14377) and, despite representing an immature individual, based on the ossification of the skeleton, it is not a hatchling or newborn, making it one of the smallest pterosaurs known so far (wing span 250 mm). It can be distinguished from all other pterosaurs by the presence of a short medial nasal process, an inverted ‘‘knife-shaped’’ deltopectoral crest of the humerus, and the presence of a well developed posterior process on the femur above the articulation with the tibia. It further shows the penultimate phalanges of the foot curved in a degree not reported in any pterosaur before, strongly indicating that it had an arboreal lifestyle, more than any other pterodactyloid pterosaur known so far. It is the sister-group of the Ornithocheiroidea and indicates that derived pterosaurs, including some gigantic forms of the Late Cretaceous with wingspans of >6 m, are closely related to small arboreal toothless creatures that likely were living in the canopies of the ancient forests feeding on insects.

Keywords: Early Cretaceous, pterosaur, western Liaoning, Jiufotang Formation, Jehol Biota

Systematics. The systematics are as follows: 
Pterosauria Kaup,1834; 
Pterodactyloidea Plieninger, 1901; 
DsungaripteroideaYoung, 1964; 
Nemicolopterus crypticus gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology. Nemicolopterus crypticus comes from the Greek language as follows: Nemos, ‘‘forest’’ and ikolos, ‘‘dweller,’’ pluspteros, ‘‘wing,’’ and kryptos, ‘‘hidden,’’ the full meaning being ‘‘hidden flying forest dweller.’’

Holotype. An almost complete skeleton has been deposited at theInstitute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology(IVPP), Beijing (IVPP V-14377; Figs. 2 and 3).

Wang, X., Kellner, A.W.A., Zhou, Z., and Campos, D.A. 2008. Discovery of a rare arboreal forest-dwelling flying reptile (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106(6): 1983–1987. doi:10.1073/pnas.0707728105

[Paleontology • 2008] Mythunga camara • An incomplete pterosaur skull from the Cretaceous of north-central Queensland, Australia

Mythunga camara Molnar and Thulborn, 2008 

An incomplete pterosaur skull was found in the Albian marine Toolebuc Formation near Hughenden, Queensland, Australia. Although only the snout and part of the jaws are preserved, the specimen has two unique characters: posterior dentary teeth relatively large (approximately half the depth of the dentary) and posterior dentary and maxillary teeth relatively widely spaced (only 3 maxillary teeth between the last enlarged tooth and the nasopreorbital opening), and a unique combination of other characters. Thus, it is assigned to the new genus and species, Mythunga camara gen.nov., sp.nov., provisionally related to plesiomorphic pterodactyloids. The snout was apparently hollow with a boxlike internal structure, supporting the characterization of pterosaurs as ‘optical illusions’. This specimen represents at least the second pterosaur taxon from Queensland.

Key words: Cretaceous. Australia. Mythunga gen.nov. Queensland. Albian. Archaeopterodactyloidea. Toolebuc Formation.

Genus Mythunga gen.nov.
Type species – Mythunga camara sp. nov.
Etymology – From ‘Mythunga’, referring to a star and a hunter of the skies in an unspecified western Queensland aboriginal dialect (DUNCANKEMP, 1968).

Molnar, Ralph E.; and Thulborn, R.A. 2008. An incomplete pterosaur skull from the Cretaceous of north-central Queensland, Australia. Arquivos do Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro. 65 (4): 461–470.

[Paleontology • 1984] Rhamphinion jenkinsi • Pterosaur remains from the Kayenta Formation (?early Jurassic) of Arizona

Padian, K. 1984. Pterosaur remains from the Kayenta Formation (?early Jurassic) of Arizona. Palaeontology. 27(2):407-413. [Fulltext]

Sunday, July 22, 2012

[Paleontology • 2012] Bellubrunnus rothgaengeri — 'the beautiful one of Brunn' • A New Non-Pterodactyloid Pterosaur from the Late Jurassic of Southern Germany

The ‘Solnhofen Limestone’ beds of the Southern Franconian Alb, Bavaria, southern Germany, have for centuries yielded important pterosaur specimens, most notably of the genera Pterodactylus and Rhamphorhynchus. Here we describe a new genus of non-pterodactyloid pterosaur based on an extremely well preserved fossil of a young juvenile: Bellubrunnus rothgaengeri (gen. et sp. nov.).

Methodology/Principal Findings
The specimen was examined firsthand by all authors. Additional investigation and photography under UV light to reveal details of the bones not easily seen under normal lighting regimes was completed.

This taxon heralds from a newly explored locality that is older than the classic Solnhofen beds. While similar to Rhamphorhynchus, the new taxon differs in the number of teeth, shape of the humerus and femur, and limb proportions. Unlike other derived non-pterodacytyloids, Bellubrunnus lacks elongate chevrons and zygapophyses in the tail, and unlike all other known pterosaurs, the wingtips are curved anteriorly, potentially giving it a unique flight profile.

Etymology: From the Latin ‘bellus’ meaning beautiful and Brunn from the locality of the holotype specimen. This then is the beautiful one of Brunn. The species name honours Monika Rothgaenger who found the holotype.

Hone, D. W. E.; Tischlinger, H.; Frey, E.; Röper, M. 2012 Claessens, Leon. ed. A New Non-Pterodactyloid Pterosaur from the Late Jurassic of Southern Germany. PLoS ONE. 7 (7): e39312. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0039312

[Paleontology • 2012] Qinglongopterus guoi • A new rhamphorhynchid (Pterosauria: Rhamphorhynchidae) from the Middle/Upper Jurassic of Qinglong, Hebei Province, China

A heavily compressed, but nearly complete fossil skeleton recovered from the Middle/Upper Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of Mutoudeng, Qinglong County, Hebei Province, China, represents a new genus and species of long-tailed pterosaur, Qinglongopterus guoi gen. et sp. nov. The holotype and only known specimen has an estimated forelimb length of 0.18 m. The new taxon is distinguished by a relatively short skull, a remarkably short pteroid with a distinctive knob-like distal expansion, and a prepubis with a relatively slender distal process. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrates that Qinglongopterus is a member of Rhamphorhynchidae, exhibiting many of the unique character states found in members of this clade. Qinglongopterus is strikingly similar to Rhamphorhynchus and more closely related to this taxon than to any other rhamphorhynchine, this pairing is supported by morphometric data and several synapomorphies (short, broad nasal process of the maxilla; forelimb length more than four times that of the hind limb; wing-phalanx one more than twice the length of the tibia). Qinglongopterus demonstrates that the highly derived skeletal morphology of Rhamphorhynchus, known only from the latest Jurassic (Tithonian) of Europe, had already appeared by the start of the Late Jurassic. This hints at evolutionary stasis in Rhamphorhynchinae, a phenomenon seemingly also present in two other clades of basal pterosaurs, Anurognathidae and Scaphognathinae, and contrasting sharply with basal monofenestratans which appear to have undergone extensive evolutionary change during the same interval.

Key words: Middle/Upper Jurassic, Tiaojishan Formation, Pterosaur, Qinglongopterus guoi gen. et sp. nov.


Lü, J., Unwin, D.M., Zhao, B., Gao, C. and Shen, C. 2012. A new rhamphorhynchid (Pterosauria: Rhamphorhynchidae) from the Middle/Upper Jurassic of Qinglong, Hebei Province, China. Zootaxa. 3158: 1–19.

New Long-Tailed Pterosaur Discovered in China | Paleontology | 

[Paleontology • 2010] Sericipterus wucaiwanensis • A new rhamphorhynchid pterosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Xinjiang, China, and the phylogenetic relationships of basal pterosaurs

Sericipterus wucaiwanensis 
by ~Jconway on @deviantART 

A new rhamphorhynchid pterosaur species, Sericipterus wucaiwanensis, gen. et sp. nov., is described from the Upper Jurassic part of the Shishugou Formation in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of northwest China. Pterosaurs from this unit are the earliest and only records of pterosaurs in the Jurassic of northwest China. The individual specimen is one of the largest known among ‘rhamphorhynchoids,’ or non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs. The holotype comprises an associated skeleton of mostly disarticulated, largely three-dimensional material. Although partly crushed, the preservation in this specimen reveals morphology rarely seen in non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs. This includes a distinct cervical intervertebral articulation morphology that is proposed to be widespread among the non-pterodactyloids. The skull of this new specimen is most similar to that of other rhamphorhynchids, Angustinaripterus longicephalus and Harpactognathus gentryii, found in terrestrial deposits. A phylogenetic analysis of 18 non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs and the Pterodactyloidea places Sericipterus wucaiwanensis with these species within the Rhamphorhynchinae and a monophyletic Rhamphorhynchidae. Unlike previous phylogenetic analyses, the Dimorphodontidae is paraphyletic, the Campylognathoididae is polyphyletic, and the Anurognathidae is the sister group of the Pterodactyloidea. Sericipterus wucaiwanensis, Angustinaripterus longicephalus, Harpactognathus gentryii represent a clade of large pterosaurs that likely lived in the terrestrial settings in which they preserved.

Sericipterus wucaiwanensis by ~jconway on @deviantART 

Andres, B.; Clark, J. M.; and Xing, X. 2010. A new rhamphorhynchid pterosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Xinjiang, China, and the phylogenetic relationships of basal pterosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 30 (1): 163–187. DOI:10.1080/02724630903409220

[Paleontology • 2012] Jianchangnathus robustus • A new scaphognathid pterosaur from western Liaoning, China

Jianchangnathus robustus
Cheng, Wang, Jiang & Kellner 2012

A partial skeleton of a new pterosaur, Jianchangnathus robustus gen. et sp. nov. from western Liaoning, China, is described. The specimen (IVPP V16866) was collected near Linglongta, Jianchang County, whose deposits have a disputed age that range from Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous. The new species shares several features with the non-pterodactyloid Scaphognathus from the Late Jurassic deposits of southern Germany, such as a deep anterior end of the lower jaw, a piriform lower temporal fenestra with the ventral margin broader than the dorsal one and the interalveolar spacing of the maxillary teeth about three alveolar spaces, allowing its allocation to the Scaphognathidae. The main diagnostic features of J. robustus include the large maxillary process of the jugal, the convex alveolar margin of the lower jaw and the procumbent disposition of the first three pairs of dentary teeth. The new Chinese taxon also differs from Fenghuangopterus lii, which comes from the same deposit and is here regarded as Scaphognathidae incertae sedis, mainly by the lower number of teeth and several proportions of the wing elements. The discovery of J. robustus demonstrates a larger diversity in the pterosaur fauna of the Linglongta region so far dominated by the non-pterodactyloid clade Wukongopteridae.

Keywords: Pterosauria, Scaphognathidae, Jianchangnathus , Liaoning, China

Holotype of Jianchangnathus robustus (IVPP V16866),
(a) Photo and (b) drawing of the nearly complete skeleton. (Image by CHENG Xin)

The skull of Jianchangnathus robustus (IVPP V16866). (Image by CHENG Xin)

Xin Cheng, Xiaolin Wang, Shunxing Jiang and Alexander W.A. Kellner. 2012. A new scaphognathid pterosaur from western Liaoning, China. Historical Biology. 24. DOI:10.1080/08912963.2011.635423