New Chinese Pterosaur Track – It’s Chaoyangopterus!

A new paper by Chen et al. (2013) illustrates new early Late Cretaceous pterosaur tracks (Fig. 1). The manus print was outlined before publication.

New pterosaur tracks by Chen et al. 2013.

Figure 1. New pterosaur tracks by Chen et al. 2013.

The new tracks are notable.
The pes is narrow and digits 2-4 are aligned transversely. The manus impression is relatively large with wide angles between the fingers.

Figure 2. Based on faint impressions in the pterosaur tracks the joints have been drawn and PILs have been added.

Figure 2. Based on faint impressions in the pterosaur tracks the joints have been drawn and PILs have been added. Toe drag marks in green. Small circles on manus represent distal ends of metacarpals 1-3. There is no trace of the big wing finger here. Pedal digit 1 either hit a hard patch or was elevated as it did not make much of an impression.

Pteraichnus dongyangensis Holotype: Manus: DYM-04666-1; Pes: DYM 04666-3. The diagnosis of the manus print is based on the finger angles. The pes is based on a width to length ratio of 17 percent. Chen et al. (2013) note the pes print is 9 cm long, but that includes the toe drag marks.

Figure 3. Scaled to the tracks, the pes and manus of Chaoyangopterus are added.

Figure 3. Scaled to the tracks, the pes and manus of Chaoyangopterus are added. It’s a pretty good match. It’s a damn good match! Pedal digit 1 makes little to no impression.

It’s good to have a catalog of pterosaur pedes (Peters 2011) to compare tracks to. Here Chaoyangopterus appears to be a great match, even down to the scale bars and chronology!

Figure 1. Chaoyangopterus alongside the new China tracks from the early Late Cretaceous.

Figure 4. Chaoyangopterus

Chaoyangopterus is a pre-azhdarchid pterosaur with relatively small and narrow plantigrade feet. Seems to be a good match in nearly every aspect.

References
Chen R-J, Lü J-C, Zhu Y-X, Azuma Y, ZhengW-J, Jin X-S, Noda Y and Shibata M 2013. Pterosaur tracks from the early Late Cretaceous of Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province, China. Geological Bulletin of China 32(5): 693-698. Free online.
Peters D 2011. A Catalog of Pterosaur Pedes for Trackmaker Identification. Ichnos, 18: 2, 114 —141

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