Sunday, July 22, 2012

[Paleontology • 2004] Cacibupteryx caribensis • A new pterosaur from the Jurassic of Cuba

Cacibupteryx caribensis 
Gasparini, Fernández, and de la Fuente, 2004

Cacibupteryx caribensis gen. et sp. nov. is a new pterosaur of the family Rhamphorhynchidae found in western Cuba, in rocks of the Jagua Formation (Middle–Upper Oxfordian). The holotype, a skull and part of the left wing, is one of the few Jurassic pterosaurs that is well preserved in three dimensions. The new taxon shares characters with early and late Jurassic pterosaurs, and is one of the few late Jurassic taxa from western Laurasia and Gondwana. Furthermore, Cacibupteryx joins Nesodactylus hesperius Colbert from Cuba, and Sordes pilosus Sharov, from Kazakhstan as the most complete pterosaur recorded from the Middle–Upper Oxfordian. Cacibupteryx caribensis is one of the largest Jurassic pterosaurs known, and its skull possesses several distinct characters, including relatively broad roof elements (mainly frontal and parietal bones), a jugal with a prominent recess, occipital table trapezoidal in shape with the maximum width between the quadrate bones, and a small fenestra located in the posterior part of the pterygoid bones. In the Oxfordian, the Caribbean Corridor separated Laurasia and western Gondwana. The diversity of the marine herpetofauna found in the Jagua Vieja Member (Jagua Formation), and of teleostean fish, confirms that the corridor was an effective seaway over which flew at least Nesodactylus and Cacibupteryx.
Keywords: Pterosauria; Rhamphorhynchidae; Cuba; Middle–Upper Oxfordian; Upper Jurassic

Gasparini, Zulma; Fernández, Marta; and de la Fuente, Marcelo. 2004. A new pterosaur from the Jurassic of Cuba. Palaeontology. 47 (4): 919–927.
DOI: 10.1111/j.0031-0239.2004.00399.x