Pangupterus: a juvenile Moganopterus

Lü et al. 2016
described a new tiny, long-snouthed pterosaur, Pangupterus liui (Jiufotang Fm., Liaoning, Aptian, Early Cretaceous; Figs. 1, 2). Lü et al. thought they had a mandible with a 30º divergence at the jaw symphysis 1/5 of the total jaw length (Fig. 1).

But then, they also report,
“The distal end of the rostrum is slightly expanded, and although it has been destroyed, it seems to have a bony process in the middle, which is similar to the case in Longchengopterus.” The paper has several authors. I don’t think they read each others input.

The color illustration of a restored Pangupterus
that was included with the paper does not follow the first description, but features extremely narrow jaws closer to the second description. The restored body was imaginatively based on a Pterodactylus bauplan.

Figure 1. Pangupterus in situ. Lü et al. had first hand access and considered this a mandible with a symphysis at 1/5 the jaw length. Here it is interpreted as a rostrum and mandible, both with parallel rami.

Figure 1. Pangupterus in situ. Lü et al. had first hand access and considered this a mandible with a symphysis at 1/5 the jaw length. Here, based on this photo,  it is interpreted as a rostrum and mandible, both with parallel rami. If you’re looking at this on a 72 dpi monitor the image is 7/5 larger than life size.

Here, based on tracing
the photo in figure 1, a narrow rostrum lies at an angle to the equally narrow mandible. And the resulting reconstruction matches that of only one pterosaur, Moganopterus, except for its size. The skull of Pangupterus is only 1/4 as long as in Moganopterus (Fig. 2). A hatchling Monganoterpus, if it followed the pattern of other pterosaur hatchlings, would have been 1/8 the size of the adult (Fig. 2) or half the size of Pangupterus.

Figure 2. No other pterosaur has such narrow jaws tipped with slender teeth. Pangupterus is a good candidate to be a juvenile Moganopterus, as shown here.

Figure 2. No other pterosaur has such narrow jaws tipped with slender teeth. Pangupterus is a good candidate to be a juvenile Moganopterus, as shown here.

Moganopterus zhuiana 41HIII0419 (Lü et al. 2012) Early Cretaceous was a large sister to Feilongus and the cycnorhamphids. The skull was extraordinarly stretched out. Feeble needle-like teeth lined the anterior jaws. A long crest that did not break the rostral margin appeared posteriorly. And the neck vertebrae were very much elongated. Likely this was a very tall pterosaur.

Several other blog spots
covered Pangupterus. Some reimagine it as a hummingbird-like specimen. See other images here, here, here and here.

This specimen
further confirms the presence of tiny, long-snouted pterosaurs, some of them juveniles of larger long-snouted pterosaurs, and the isometric ontogenetic growth of all pterosaurs.

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.
Lü J-C, Liu C, Pan L-J and Shen C-Z 2016.
A new pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of the Western part of the Liaoning Province, Northeastern China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English) 90(3):777-782.

wiki/Moganopterus
/wiki/Pangupterus

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