Moganopterus, boreopterid? or cycnorhamphid?

Moganopterus (Fig. 1, Lü et al. 2012) is one of the oddest of all pterosaurs, with its elongated jaws.

Figure 1. Moganopterus compared to Cycnorhamphus, both to scale.

Figure 1. Moganopterus compared to Cycnorhamphus, both to scale.

Wikipedia follows Lü et al. 2012 in nesting Feilongus (Wang set al. 2005) and Moganopterus with the boreopterid ornithocheirids, Boreopterus and Zhenyuanopterusneither of which have a cranial crest,

Let’s test the nestings
Moving Moganopterus from the cycnorhamphids to the boreopterids adds 17 steps. That’s pretty substantial. Adding Feilongus and Moganopterus to the boreopterids adds 20 steps to the large pterosaur tree.

The resemblances between both clades are remarkable. It is easy how one could waver toward the boreopterids. The Lü et al. 2012 study recovered over 33,000 most parsimonious trees.

Traits shared with cycnorhamphids
Like Cycnorhamphus (Fig. 1) and distinct from boreopterids, Moganopterus has an upper temporal arch set lower on the skull, teeth restricted to the anterior jawline, a cranial crest, a posteriorly descending jugal, and cervical ribs. If anyone has data that could change this nesting, please let me know of it. References

Lü J-C, Pu H-Y, Xu i, WuY-H and Wei X-F 2012. Largest Toothed Pterosaur Skull from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Western Liaoning, China, with Comments On the Family Boreopteridae. Acta Geologica Sinica 86 (2): 287-293.

Wang X, Kellner AWA, Zhou Z and de Almeida Campos, D 2005. Pterosaur diversity and faunal turnover in Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems in China. Nature 437 (7060): 875–879. doi:10.1038/nature03982. PMID 16208369.






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