The Family Tree of the Pterosauria 9 – The Dsungaripteridae

Earlier we looked at the rise of Germanodactylus and the clade of Germanodactylus. Today we take a look at the clade of Germanodactylus cristatus (the holotype) including the Dsungaripteridae. The Shenzhoupteridae and the Tapejaridae will follow.

The Dsungaripteridae

Germanodactylus and the Dsungaripteridae

Figure 1. Germanodactylus and the Dsungaripteridae

The relationship between Germanodactylus cristatus and Dsungaripterus was recognized immediately (Young 1964). Traditionally considered toothless and overlooked by all prior workers, the tips of both jaws are actually sharp teeth, a trait inherited from Germanodactylus. The posterior premaxillary teeth are absent. Unfortunately, there aren’t many dsungaripterids known. Several are from partial skulls.

Lonchognathosaurus  (Maisch, Matzke and Sun 2004) is the smallest of the dsungaripterids, known from only a portion of the rostrum.

Phobetor” (Yang 1973) was combined with Noripterus by Lü et al. (2009) and is known from a complete skull. Distinct from Germanodactylus cristatus (No. 61), the skull had a smaller and subdivided orbit and a raised cranial crest. The lacrimal produced a posterior process to meet the postorbital, which produced an anterior process to divide the orbit into upper and lower areas. The jawline was straighter. The quadrate angle was raised. The quadratojugal was larger. Teeth erupted only in the middle of the jaws. The mandible was straigther and more gracile.

Noripterus (Yang 1973) is known from postcranial material only. The humerus had a smaller deltopectoral crest that was not medially angled. The metacarpus was longer than the ulna. Fingers I-III were reduced and so were the unguals. Manual 4.2 extended beyond the elbow when the wing was folded. The hind limb was longer and more gracile. The foot was smaller with unguals aligned transversely. The metatarsus was relatively longer and the toes were shorter.

Dsungaripterus (Young 1964) ~4 m wingspan, Early Cretaceous was derived from a sister to Noripterus. Together these dsungaripterids represent the last of their lineage. Distinct from Noripterus, the skull of Dsungaripterus was more robust with upturned jaw tips. Bone grew over the rear teeth during maturation. The suborbital region was further ossified. The mandible was more robust. The sternal complex was rectangular. Posteriorly two sternal ribs (or gastralia) were massive. The gastralia were few and robust. The wing was more gracile. The femur was more robust. The fibula was fused to the tibia.

As always, I encourage readers to see specimens, make observations and come to your own conclusions. Test. Test. And test again.

Evidence and support in the form of nexus, pdf and jpeg files will be sent to all who request additional data.

Bakhurina NN 1982. A pterodactyl from the lower Cretaceous of Mongolia. Paleontological Journal 1982(4): 104-109.
Lü J, Azuma Y, Dong Z, Barsbold R, Kobayashi Y and Lee Y-N 2009. New material of dsungaripterid pterosaurs (Pterosauria: Pterodactyloidea) from western Mongolia and its palaeoecological implications. Geological Magazine, 146(5): 690-700.
Maisch MW, Matzke AT and Sun G 2004. A new dsungaripteroid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of the southern Junggar Basin, north-west China. Cretaceous Research 25: 625–634. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2004.06.002.
Yang Z 1973. Reports of Paleontological Expedition to Sinkiang (II): Pterosaurian Fauna from Wuerho, Sinkiang (in Chinese). Memoirs of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology Academia Sinica 11: 18–35.
Young CC 1964. On a new pterosaurian from Sinkiang, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 8: 221-256.


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